11/4/10

The Secret to Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice

My sweet friend Lisa Loughran shared with me the secret to her delicious spanish rice. Her hispanic grandmother used to make this for her all the time when she was growing up, so there's a great deal of tradition in this method.

The secret is in NOT STIRRING. It kind of goes against what feels natural, but it makes all the difference. Not stirring allows the rice to cook without getting mushy. Sauteing the dry rice in oil prior to adding the liquid also makes all the difference. So, I guess that's 2 secrets revealed.


So when I was at her house this last weekend, she instructed while I prepared the rice. Here's how it went..


Lisa:  Pour the oil and rice in the pan and saute until it's brown. You can stir some right now.


Me:  Is this brown enough?


Lisa:  No, not yet.


Me:  Now?


Lisa:  No.


Me: Now??


Lisa:  Okay, I usually like it a little browner, but go ahead and add everything else. Don't stir, though.


Me:  Don't I need to mix everything up?


Lisa:  Nope, just put the lid on and let it go.


Me:  Are you sure? I really want to give it a quick stir.


Lisa: Do not stir!


Me:  Okay.  How about now?


Lisa:  Just leave it alone.


Me:  But don't you need to be sure it..


Lisa:  Nope!


Finally, it looks like all the liquid's been absorbed and it's ready, so I think now, NOW I can stir. I pick up the spoon and lift the lid and Lisa stops me.


Lisa:  Don't stir.


Me:  What? Why not? It's done!


Lisa:  Doesn't matter. Don't stir. Just scoop some out without stirring.


Me:  Seriously?


Lisa:  Yep. Even if there are leftovers, we're still not going to stir. Just scoop it into the container, snap the lid on, and put it in the refrigerator.


Me:  Okay, so you're telling me I shouldn't stir this. Fine, I get it. 

Spanish Rice
Adapted from Lisa Loughran

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 cup dry long grain white rice
1/4 cup chopped onion, white or yellow
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 chicken bouillon cube, crushed
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth or stock (Lisa makes her own stock)
kosher salt to taste
chopped fresh cilantro to garnish (optional)
shredded cheddar cheese to garnish (optional)

Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium and add oil. Then add rice and stir to coat. Saute rice stirring occasionally until rice is lightly browned, about 5-10 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn.

rice and oil
almost brown enough

When rice is lightly browned, add onion, garlic, and bouillon cube. Give it one quick stir and then.. Put. Down. The. Spoon. Do not pick it up again until you're ready to serve. Even then DO NOT STIR.


Then pour in the tomato sauce and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and bring to a simmer. Cover skillet and simmer for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the grains are beginning to burst.

rice has absorbed liquid and grains are beginning to burst

Taste and add a sprinkle of salt if needed, but Do Not Stir. Just scoop and serve. Garnish with chopped cilantro and shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.

Did I mention not to stir?

Spanish Rice


50 comments:

  1. Great post...that rice looks very authentic...and you made me chuckle, Veronica! That's exacly how my husband's grandma taught me how to cook Mexican food...she didn't have any specific recipes. It was all by look/feel and technique! I love Mexican rice and fideo...my MIL taught me to make fideo.

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  2. Hi Wendy - funny you mention fideo! Lisa and I talked about that, too, and when I have a chance I'm planning to make a chicken and fideo one-dish-meal. You just put the chicken in with the fideo and cook at the same time. Maybe that's how you make your fideo, too?

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  3. Should I stir this while cooking???? ha ha, just kidding! Looks super - I'm going to try this one for sure!

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  4. Just to be a rebel, I am going to very lightly stir this just once. JUST ONCE! Heehee. Kidding!

    I am a huge fan of Spanish rice but that's likely because my mom's family is all Mexican and they've been cooking rice like this for years. I love eating it and will probably have to try it with brown rice since I am staying away from white rice as much as I can.

    Darn. Now I want this instead of the bowl of oatmeal I just ate.

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  5. Kim - You'll have to let me know how it comes out using brown rice. I wanted to try it that way but figured I needed to master the technique first before changing it up!

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  6. Nice tip I will remember that for next time.

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  7. Looks GREAT!! That's so funny about the stirring! I would keep on trying too!

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  8. Ha. What a funny story. I would have been saying the exact same thing! Not stirring just seems so wrong.
    What a great post...I've always wanted the perfect spanish rice and this looks like a winner. Definitely going to try it. Thanks for the tips!

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  9. I am chuckling at the exchange with your friend, since this is almost the same conversation I had with my sister AND mom on my second attempt at a rice dish I recently made! looks great--as usual...thanks veronica!

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  10. Wow. What great tips. I have always been hesitant to try to make Spanish rice. Thanks for inspiring me!

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  11. thanks for the tips! looks great!

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  12. Great tips, amazing photos and recipe as usual! :)

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  13. fantastic tips :) The rice looks perfect :)

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  14. I am totally fine with not stirring because I usually use a rice cooker, but when it's on the stove I ALWAYS stir it at the end. Just at the end.
    I can't help it.
    It's so much worse than an itch I want to scratch.
    (It still turns out ok.)

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  15. I can't wait to try this! These "secrets" make me really want to try the recipe out for myself. I have always heard that you should never stir rice, but with all the other ingredients in the pot it does seem a little unnatural. Looks delicious!

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  16. I just came across your blog. I am spanish and I must say you did a great job with this rice. Being spanish there are so many ways to cook rice and thi recipe goes back to my chilhood days when you toasted the rice. I am looking forward to reciving your posts.
    Norma
    http://platanosmangoesandme.blogspot.com

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  17. Great meeting you at the Foodbuzz Fest. That's a funny exchange with your friend. The end result sure looks good in your photo, so she must have been on to something.

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  18. ejoyed a lot with the post and this looks delicious, and yes my mum always telling me "DO NOT STIR" :)

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  19. I love LOVE Spanish rice, being I am from Texas, I ate it quite often growing up! Yours looks great!

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  20. Mmmm I LOVE Spanish rice! I love the conversation between you and your friend about stirring the rice, too funny! I would be so tempted to stir the rice too. I'm definitely trying this recipe, YUM!!! :)

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  21. DOES ANYONE KNOW APPROXIMATELY HOW MANY SERVINGS THIS RECIPE MAKES? If so, please email me at getmartha @ google.com THANK YOU!

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  22. I'm sorry but the not stirring did NOT work for me. Some grains remained white whereas the center offered my husband a big surprise when he got a mouth full of straight bouillon! Yuck! This most definetly needed to be stirred. What else could I have done wrong? The rice could have been tasty if all the glavors had a chance to mix together.

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  23. Hi Janel - I'm sorry to hear that! One thing is the boullion cube should have been crushed. Also after you add the garlic, onion and bouillon, you give it one quick stir and that's enough to blend it. When you pour in the chicken stock and tomato sauce and bring it to a boil, all of that gets mixed together on its own sufficiently also. That's really all there is to it. My pictures are showing it just as it comes out at the end, flavors dispersed and delicious. Again, I'm really sorry it didn't work out. Please feel free to email me - theenchantedcook@gmail.com - any time and I'd be happy to discuss more.

    Thanks,
    Veronica

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  24. Ugh! Embarrassed! I missed the "crushed" remark. I will definetly have to give it another try! Doh!

    I will continue following your blog for new recipes too, thanks!!!

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    Replies
    1. Lol, no problem! Thanks for commenting again and looking forward to continuing to connect!

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  25. I have been looking and looking for a Spanish rice recipe that makes the rice not so soggy and mushy! I never thought to not stir! I think I even over stir! I definitely will be trying this recipe soon. I will let you know how mine turns out and I promise I won't stir!!

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    Replies
    1. I hope you like it Kristy! It's definitely counter-intuitive to not stir but it works wonderfully!

      Best,
      Veronica

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    2. OK so I tried your recipe and followed the directions exactly as you stated and I am so super happy that it came out great!! Not mushy or anything!! Thank you again so much for sharing your secrets!! I will never again use any other recipe for Spanish Rice! Thanks again!!

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    3. That's awesome to hear! ..and I'm suddenly hungry for Spanish rice!

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  26. Worked fantastic! No mush! I just about killed me to not stir though... :)

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  27. Try I with enchilada sauce in addition to / instead of tomato sauce... its magic... also back to the basics you should mix all your liquids (and bullion) bring to a good boil then add the fried rice... adding the rice to the liquid mix while the liquid mix is cool will also n contribute to poor texture mushy rice

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  28. I am afraid I have to stir lol

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  29. I agree with everything except: You have to stir well when you put in the Boullion cube. Then put down that spoon

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  30. Thank you for this recipe. I made it yesterday for a large crowd and it turned out perfect. Didn't stick together awesome flavor thanks for sharing

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    1. That's awesome Lynn - so glad to hear it!

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  31. Most Spanish rice recipes I've seen call for a ratio of 2 parts liquid to 1 part rice. I noticed yours is 3:1. I'm wondering why the difference?

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  32. My recipe calls for 2 cups broth to 1 cup rice. I'm not sure what you're asking, if you can clarify.

    Thanks,
    Veronica

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    Replies
    1. Your recipe also adds 1 cup tomato sauce, so that's why I said a ratio of 3:1.

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    2. It all cooks down and works as described.

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  33. Do you think the rice would turn out OK if we added the broth and tomato sauce together and stirred together before adding to the rice? Maybe we could also stir in the crushed bouillon to to this as well?

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  34. I gotta say thanks, best spanish rice I ever made!

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  35. Lol, ty so very much, can't wait to try your tip.

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  36. Are you rinsing or pre-soaking the rice beforehand?

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  37. I am wondering if you think it would be ok to transfer to a crock pot after cooking? I want to serve for a large crowd/party and will need a way for it to be warmed.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Emily,

      Yes that should work fine. I'd keep an eye on it so it doesn't dry out but otherwise should be good.

      Thanks,
      Veronica

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