Spanish rice with chicken sausage


I learned something while making this recipe for my office cooking club (theme this month: Latin). It taught me that sausage is really underrated as a flavor builder. As someone who eats limited meat, I was truly impressed by how much mileage you can get out of a single smoked sausage. It’s relatively affordable to boot. Saute the sausage in some oil until it crisps, browns and lets out its deep aromas, then use that gravy to cook a grain — in this instance, rice. Each bite has so much meaty flavor in it, and it’s so hearty to eat in cooler weather.

I used two sausages actually, both chicken with sundried tomatoes and pine nuts that I purchased from Wagshal’s, a local butcher that purchases responsibly raised, local meat. Chris of Just Simply… Cuisine, where I have been interning, turned me on to them.

The recipe also pulled a lot of flavor from the poblano peppers I received a week ago from the CSA. The tomatoes and onions were also courtesy of the farm share, so there was lots of fresh produce involved in enhancing this dish.

Saffron and paprika were the two spices I used to accent the dish. It’s simple and came together in half an hour. Try it!

Recipe after the jump.

Note: This is a quicker Spanish rice recipe than the one I have posted on this blog before, although both were delicious. The previous one used a full chicken, so it was much more meaty, but I don’t think this one misses any of the flavor by cutting that bit out.

Also, I recommend using a dutch oven to make this dish because it holds heat evenly and prevents your rice from sticking to the bottom as it cooks.

Start by heating up 2 tbsp. of grapeseed or vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add 2 sausages diced into 1/2″ rounds. It doesn’t really matter what kind you use, but I would recommend something smoky and with a little spice. Cook and stir occasionally until the sausages brown and their aroma hits your nose, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 medium yellow onion to the pot, diced into 1/2″ cubes. Cook until onions are transparent, about 5 minutes. Then add 2 seeded poblano peppers, also diced and cook for another few minutes. Finally, add 1 cup diced tomatoes and 3 finely chopped garlic cloves.

To this mixture, add 3 cups water and your spices: 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. paprika and 1/2 tsp. crushed Spanish saffron. Saffron is neither cheap nor easy to find, but I really think it enhances the flavor of the dish and I recommend you use it. You can try to find it in ethnic markets or a spice store such as the national chain Penzey’s.

Let the water come to a boil, then toss in 1 1/2 cups rice. I used basmati rice, but it doesn’t really matter which long grain rice you use. Just be sure to follow the packet instructions for cooking time if you use something different, since it may take more time for the rice to cook.

Let the rice cook in the liquid for 5 minutes, then secure the dish with a tight lid (use foil to hold in the moisture if necessary) and reduce the heat to a simmer. Steam the rice for 15 minutes, then take it off the heat and let it rest for another 5.

Last step, and it’s optional: Stir in 1 cup frozen peas and let the rice rest, covered, for another 5 minutes to defrost the peas.

All done and ready to serve! Enjoy.

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