Serves: Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 2 strips thick-cut bacon, finely diced
- ½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
- ½ cup finely diced green bell pepper
- ½ cup finely diced onion
- 1 jalepeño chile, cored, seeded, and finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- ¾ cup finely diced plum tomatoes
- 1¾ cups chicken stock or top-quality chicken broth, or more if needed
Procedures:Growing up, I loved Spanish rice, although it’s become something of a forgotten side dish in the last couple of decades. But this wonderful, aromatic, comforting recipe deserves to have a comeback. Don’t shy away from using canned tomatoes (drained of their juice) in place of diced fresh tomatoes when vine-ripened, flavorful tomatoes are not available. You can omit the bacon and use 1 tablespoon corn oil in place of the bacon fat for cooking the vegetables.
- Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until browned and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving the bacon fat in the skillet.
- Add the bell peppers, onion, and jalepeño to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until tender and aromatic. Stir in the garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper until well blended. Add the rice and stir 3 minutes, until evenly coated and lightly toasted (some of the rice grains will begin turning opaque).
- Stir in the tomatoes, followed by the chicken stock. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed. (If the rice is dry before it is tender, stir in another ¼ cup of the stock and cook about 5 minutes longer.) Stir with a fork, cover, and let sit off heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and taste the rice for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper to taste.