You can learn a lot from reading cookbooks. By that I don’t mean just reading the recipes, but the surrounding text as well, where some good tips can be hidden. It was from Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat that I learned the great trick of substituting vermouth when a recipe calls for white wine, for the simple reason that if I open a bottle of wine to add some to whatever I’m cooking, the rest of it is going to be drunk that night. That’s not necessarily a problem, except that I like to cook with wine and that can get expensive, whereas you just need a splash of vermouth for the same effect and one bottle will last for a couple months.
Another invaluable trick is one I learned from Rick Balyess’s Mexican Kitchen: deflaming onions. I’ve never been a fan of raw onions, finding them to be too overpowering in most dishes, but deflaming them takes a lot of the bite out of them. All you do is prepare the onion as your recipe says to, then toss the cut-up onion into a strainer and rinse well under cold water. I do this all the time now.
This is a great one-dish dinner on its own, though Rick Bayless suggests pairing it with some dressed greens (try the Tangy Avocado Dressing) or a spinach salad, warm tortillas, and perhaps a small bowl of beans for, as he says, “a supper to savor.” If you’re really in the spirit of the summer season, use the kernels from 1 ear of fresh corn here.
Mexican Rice Supper with Chorizo, Zucchini and Corn
adapted from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen by Rick Bayless
If you have your own favorite salsa recipe, then by all means use that instead here. If you don’t want to bother making your own salsa, just substitute 2 cups (480 ml) of a good store-bought one. This dish can be made a day ahead, though the zucchini will suffer a bit in the reheating.
for the salsa:
2 medium round tomatoes or 4 to 6 plum tomatoes, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
1 or 2 red chilies (or 3 to 5 fresh Serrano chilies), deseeded and finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus extra to garnish
1 small onion, finely chopped
for the rice:
1 cup (225 g) chorizo sausage, casing removed
1 cup (180 g) rice, preferably medium grain
3/4 cup (175 ml) chicken, beef or vegetable stock (or water)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup (200 g) corn
To make the salsa, mix together the tomatoes, chillies, garlic and cilantro. Place the chopped onion into a strainer, rinse under cold water, shake off the excess and add to the mixture.
To make the rice, break up the chorizo into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (it will need to be big enough to accommodate all the ingredients) and set over a medium heat. Stir regularly, breaking up any lumps, until the chorizo is thoroughly cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove it with a slotted spoon, then pour off all but 1 tablespoon or so of the fat. Add the rice to the pan, return to the heat and stir regularly until the rice is lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the salsa, raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring every once in a while, until very thick and reduced, about 7 minutes.
While the mixture cooks, bring the stock (or water) to a boil in a small saucepan. Add to the rice mixture, stir once, scrape down any rice kernels clinging to the side of the pan, cover and cook over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the cooked chorizo, zucchini and corn, re-cover and cook 5 minutes longer. Uncover and bite into a grain of rice: it should be nearly cooked through. If the rice is ready, turn off the heat, cover, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes longer to complete the cooking. If the rice seems far from done, continue cooking for 5 minutes or so, retest, then turn off the heat and let stand for a few more minutes.
Divide into 4 warmed bowls, sprinkle with the extra cilantro, and serve.Email this post Print this post