Celebrate your Hispanic Heritage with these rice dishes

Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate our rich culture and our exquisite cuisine. For many, rice is a dish that can’t be ignored…
Celebrate your Hispanic Heritage with these rice dishes

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with rice dishes. (Shutterstock)

Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate our rich culture and our exquisite cuisine. For many, rice is a dish that can’t be ignored or skipped at any mealtime. Here are some of those comforting, easy-to-make Latin rice dishes you may want to have handy when creating your weekly menu.

The versatility of rice is something to truly admire. No wonder it has weaved its way into every cultural cuisine. Even the Moors in Spain had their own signature rice dish:

“Arroz con leche” is sweeter than regular rice pudding. (Shutterstock)

They’d boil rice in milk. Then add butter, some oil, and sugar to make a sweet, porridge-like pudding. Nowadays, we can recreate that sweet rice dish that pretty much reminds me of our very dear ‘arroz con leche.’

SEE ALSO: Fritanga: An exclusive taste of Nicaraguan food

Today this humble little grain is much more of a staple as beans and flour in many countries around the world.

Rice is everywhere, from horchatas to savory dishes, soups and salads, to just plain rice milk and protein powders! We can make very easy rice dishes or classic, complex and very sophisticated ones.

Rice with saffron recipe or “Arroz con azafrán”

Saffron is one of my favorite spices. And it takes just a little touch of these delicate threads to add color, fragrance and flavor to any rice dish. For extraordinary results use pure azafrán strands and avoid using the seasoning.

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, low in sodium, organic
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch of Spanish saffron (or more to taste)
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

How to do it

Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add broth and saffron and simmer until ready to use.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat add the olive oil, the garlic and onion. Stir to combine well. Cook until soft—about 3 minutes. Add rice and stir to combine again. Once the rice is golden brown slowly add the broth and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside for about 5-7 minutes. Fluff with fork, serve with your favorite main dish.

Optional:

Add green peas or any beans of your choice, as well as some Spanish chorizo for a more satisfying meal. Serve along your favorite protein or just by itself.

Tips:

You can either grind the saffron or toast in the oven or over a skillet to allow the saffron to develop color and a richer, deeper flavor.

Easy Spanish rice

  • 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice (or rice of your choice)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 of a large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1-14 ounces can chicken broth, low sodium, organic
  • 1-8 ounces can tomato sauce, low sodium, organic (you can also use tomato paste for extra richness in color and flavor)
  • 1/2 cup water

How to do it

Heat a deep saucepan over medium heat. Add in oil and heat for a few seconds. Add in garlic, onions and rice and sauté until rice starts to turn golden.In the meantime, mix together the broth, tomato sauce and water.

SEE ALSO: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage with the one and only: Grilled fajitas

Pour the liquids into the rice pan very slowly. Stir to combine ingredients well.Reduce heat to low and bring the liquids to a simmer. Cover the pan and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

Remove from heat and let it sit, covered for 10 more minutes. When you remove the lid, the liquid should be absorbed into the rice. Remove lid and fluff up rice with a fork. Serve immediately.