Ladies and gentlemen, I have just made the most divinely delicious dish.
“Surely, you exaggerate!” you say?
I do not. And don’t call me Shirley.
(I guess that joke only works when spoken. Oh well. Moving on.)
Tonight I made sofrito, a basic Spanish fry-up of onion and other veggies, including grated tomato. This base is then incorporated into all kinds of dishes. Tonight, I made it into an arroz con ternera, or rice with veal.
My Chico and I have been thoroughly enjoying José Andrés’ “Made in Spain” (pronounced “made in espain” of course). We don’t get PBS, but we have been watching his program online, here. Inspired by his show about Castilla-la Mancha, I decided to delight Chico this evening by preparing the dish José Andrés makes on this show. Here’s how I did it:
- 500g veal ragout (José Andrés used rabbit, but I was fresh out)
- plenty of olive oil (preferably Spanish!)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 green pepper, finely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic (whole and still in its skin)
- 1 large bay leaf
- saffron (if you don’t have it, as I didn’t, you can use turmeric, but use it sparingly)
- 2 large tomatoes, grated (don’t include the skins)
- mushrooms (about 225g – you can use whatever kind you like)
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup medium-grain rice
- Season the veal. Heat a large pot (preferably not non-stick, I used my largest le Creuset pot) and add a generous amount of olive oil to the pan. Make sure it’s nice and hot. Carefully add the veal ragout pieces to the pan and brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and leave all the lovely juices behind in the pot.
- If necessary, add a some oil to the pan until the bottom is well coated. Let it heat up. When hot, toss in the onion, green pepper, garlic clove (smashed, but not chopped) and bay leaf. Let it cook slowly for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Meanwhile, grate the tomatoes into a bowl.
- When the onion & green pepper are nice and soft, add good heaping teaspoon of paprika and a pinch of saffron or turmeric and stir it around quickly (careful: the spices can burn very quickly, so be sure to mix them in well). Then toss in the tomatoes. At this point I also added a splash of white wine for flavor, but that’s optional.
- Cook until the liquid has reduced and the mixture is a nice, deep red.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until they’re soft.
- Add the meat back into the pot and stir it around. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the 4 cups of water and bring the whole thing to a boil. Add salt to taste, then cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- Throw in the cup of rice and stir it in well. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes, until it simmers again. Then cover, and cook on very low heat for another 15 minutes.
Voilà! You have just made a delicious Spanish meal! If you can get your hands on saffron, it’s worth it (though it is hella expensive). If not, like I said the turmeric can work.
Chico gave it rave reviews and even made a face like the one José Andrés makes. It was awesome.