Party Rice

Ooof. It’s that time of year, so I guess I must be having a party, which means coming up with a way of feeding lots of people. How about this?

It’s neither paella nor risotto, but nevertheless, rather good. It has evolved over some time, starting with a recipe from Silvana Franco.

For every four guests, you will need:

  • chilli (will vary on your chilli, but suggest enough to add a tingle, but not enough to make it hot)
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, or as much as you dare (I keep on saying that with garlic, don’t I?)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 100g peas (or beans, mangetout)
  • Kalamata olives (as many as you like, but leave the stones in)
  • 200g long grain rice (not arborio or anything fancy, just basic long grain)
  • 900 mL stock
  • turmeric (half a teaspoon)
  • paprika (half a teaspoon)
  • salt/pepper, plus lemon wedges to garnish

Here’s how:

  1. Thinly slice – don’t crush – the garlic, and fry gently with the chilli in some olive oil
  2. Slice/dice/whatever the onion and capsicum, and add – keep on frying ’til soft
  3. Make the necessary arrangements to have the stock ready and hot
  4. Add a bit more oil and the rice, turn the heat up and fry the rice as you would if you were making a risotto
  5. Add the turmeric, paprika and olives
  6. pour over the hot stock, stir vigorously
  7. Turn the heat right down and leave for 15 minutes – the heat should be high enough to cook the rice, and low enough so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom – check occasionally – the ideal situation is to get it slightly crunchy underneath – so regular stirring is not on
  8. Add the peas about five minutes before serving

In Advance

You can prepare this in advance, by getting up to the stage where you fry the rice, and then adding only 200 mL of concentrated stock, stirring to deglaze the pan, and then covering and allowing to cool. The following day, spread the rice out in a roasting tin, add 800mL hot water, and pop in an oven on about 150C for about 20 minutes.

Vegetarians avert your gaze now

Obviously you can add meat. Some possibilities:

  • start by gently frying some pancetta or sliced chorizo in the pan, until all the fat has oozed out, and then carry on as normal
  • add some leftover roast chicken or duck with the stock, or just fry up some chopped up chicken thigh fillets (don’t bother with breast meat, not interesting enough for this kind of recipe)
  • add some prawns or other shellfish at the same time as the peas
  • in theory, you could use saffron instead of turmeric, but I’ve never dared

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