Friday, May 22, 2009

Spanish Rice

So, I have to admit - when I'm in a pinch and need to make a side dish, I will often fall back on good old Near East rice or couscous. The truth is, their mixes are really good, so why would anyone want to make anything but that? (some people don't...) Of them all though, their Spanish rice mix is the king. I've always wondered what's in the spice packet they include with them, but never bothered to really try and figure it out.

Well, until recently, that is. I was determined to either replicate Near East's mix or top it. When done right, Spanish rice is extremely flavorful and I often cannot stop myself from several more helpings. So, I set out to do it - but the challenge to myself was, I would not look at the ingredients or any other recipes for Spanish rice for this. This time, I was on my own.

You'll notice there aren't any particularly authentic Spanish ingredients (such as adobo, sofrito, etc.). That's mainly because I don't have them in my kitchen. But also, I was curious to see how close I could come with only basic kitchen supplies.

In the end, this rice does taste different from the Near East version - but I still think it's a great homemade version of Spanish rice, and it was definitely a delicious challenger to the classic standard. As expected, I could not keep myself from having several servings.

A homemade variation on the classically boxed dish

Spanish Rice

2 cups white basmati rice
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 can corn kernels, drained
3 tsp smoky Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp onion powder
1-2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp cumin
2 heavy pinches salt
Pepper to taste
2 cups water
1-2 tbsp. oil for sauteing.

1. Pour oil into a pot and coat the rice with it. Saute the rice for a couple of minutes.

2. Add tomatoes and corn to pot and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Add spices, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly till well coated. Add water, and bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 20 min.

Serves 6-8. Unless you are serving me. Then it probably serves 2 or 3.

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