Monday, May 16, 2011

Spanish Rice

One of my favorite side dish growing up was my Mom's Spanish Rice.  This rice was a staple in the summer alongside BBQ meat (especially my mom's marinated beef) or burgers.

This is very different than the Spanish rice you will get in a Mexican restaurant.  Both have their place, but this one has it's place alongside BBQ (and for Christmas Eve, but that is another story)...

Here's How To Make It...

Spanish Rice

2 c. Long Grain Rice
1 can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes
1 can (4 oz) Tomato Sauce
1/3 lb. Bacon (cut up)
1 c. Onion (chopped)
1/2 c. Green Pepper
1/2-1/3 c. Olives
1 heaping Tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Salt (or to taste)

Cook rice, per package instructions.  2 parts water, one part rice, pinch of salt, cook for 20 minutes...

Meanwhile, cut up bacon.  I use kitchen shears rather than a knife.  I have found it gets the job done much faster and without too much frustration!

Chop onion.

Saute bacon until it begins to render its fat and softens.  Add onion and a pinch of salt.  Continue to saute until onions are soft and translucent and bacon is cooked but not too crunchy.

Chop green pepper, slice olives.

When rice is finished, pour into a prepared baking dish. (prepared: sprayed with kitchen spray).  I used a 9x9 dish, but you could use whatever dish you prefer that is approximately this size. 
Add bacon & onion (with the bacon fat baby!!!!).

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, green pepper and olives.  Stir all together. 
Take note of the color, it is sort of a very light red or pink.  Your final product you want pretty red and the way we get there is with chili powder.  I have always done this by sight but for this recipe I tried to get exact measurements - add or subtract to your taste. 

Sprinkle a healthly tablespoon of chili powder over rice.  Stir.  Sprinke in 1/2 tsp cumin & garlic powder over rice.  Stir.  Add 1 tsp salt.  Stir, Stir, Stir.  How is the color?  How is the taste?   If both are good then we move onto the cheese.

Here in Oregon we are lucky to have the best chedder cheese readily available to us.  Tillamook Chedder.  If you are not should be.  It is orange gold!
Ok, so I have to stop for a moment and give a 'Tip' from my mother regarding shredded cheese and how to make it go farther.  When shredding cheese use the really small/fine grate.  You will use about the 1/2 the cheese but feel like you are getting the same amount on your food.  Try works!

Anyways, you will need approximately 2 cups of grated cheese to sprinkle all over the top of the rice.  
Bake rice at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  

Serve and enjoy!

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