Thursday, July 10, 2008

(Dutch) Spanish Rice

Growing up in the country, my culinary breadth was often limited. To give you an idea of what I mean, I never had Chinese food until late in high school (and never liked it until late in college) and I never had Mexican or Indian food until college. As was often the case with the Dutch farm families (at least where I grew up), there were a limited number of seasoning options that were actually used. Now, don't get me wrong, the cupboard had a reasonable amount of flavors to choose from, but almost all of them were ones used in baking. No, when it came to dinner, we had very two real options: salt and pepper. Occasionally, some garlic, onion, or seasoned salt would get thrown in there, but that was about it. I discovered, upon leaving home, that many of the dishes I'd grown up with were not the same as dishes of the same name in other kitchens.

One such recipe is "Spanish Rice," which at home involved 5 ingredients: rice, ground beef, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Of course, I've never seen another person make a dish called Spanish rice, nor have I seen it on any restaurant menus, but I have seen it in boxed form in the supermarket aisle, and there it certainly contains a different set of ingredients (and lots of preservatives and non-pronounceable chemicals). Now, don't get me wrong, I like my mom's Spanish rice, but there isn't a whole lot to play around with in this recipe. So, since I left home eons ago (ok - perhaps not eons) I've been experimenting with different flavor combinations and ingredients. Below is the basic recipe I'm working from, but this is by no means a recipe that is set in stone (perhaps you've noticed this theme in my cooking).

"Spanish" Rice

1-lb ground beef/turkey, browned
3-cups cooked white rice (AKA - 1 cup before you cook it)
1-quart stewed tomatoes, broken up
Salt and Pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper)
2-tbsp. chili powder
1-tbsp. oregano
1-tbsp. cilantro (don't tell Z, she's not a fan)
1/2-tsp. cumin
dash cayenne pepper

  • Brown and drain ground beef, cook rice, break up tomatoes
  • Combine all ingredients in a large oven-safe bowl, cover with foil
  • Bake at 350° for 1-hour, removing foil during final 15-minutes.
I like to serve this with peas because that's what my family did, but that probably makes it even less "Spanish" (if that's possible!).

1 comment:

zarafa said...

peas are even more gross than cilantro...