Paprika and tomato rice

Paprika and tomato rice

The other night was vegetarian night. Dinner was peperonata di patate, an Italian pepper and potato stew. It took more than an hour to simmer the vegetables to tenderness and to get the sauce to thicken to the right consistency. By the time dinner was almost ready, Speedy asked absent-mindedly what was in the stew, I said pepper and potatoes, and when I stopped my enumeration right there, he said, “And that’s that?”

Yes, that’s that, I replied.

“No meat?”

“No meat.”

I served the peperonata di patate with toasted French bread and by the time dinner was over, Speedy declared that we’d probably die if we turned vegetarian totally. Not that dinner was bad. It was as good as a vegetable stew could get but, you know, when you’ve lived all your life automatically defining stew as something meaty — even if the definition is mental and with no actual articulation — well, the experience of eating an all-vegetable stew can be strange and almost… uhmmm, unnerving.

So, that’s the peperonata di patate from the other night.

Paprika and tomato rice

A day later, all that was left was about a cup of the chunky tomato sauce which was too wonderfully rich to throw away. So, I decided that it would be the starting point for a new dish. With leftover sauce from the previous night’s peperonata di patate, I cooked this rice casserole with pork, sweet paprika, carrots, peas and spinach.

But, wait! I’m not saying that you have to have leftover peperonata di patate sauce to make this dish. Use the leftover tomato sauce from some other dish like leftover pasta sauce or excess sauce from afritada, or make your own chunky tomato sauce. If you have to use store-bought, I highly suggest a can of stewed or diced tomatoes.

But, wait again! Just in case someone’s thinking of asking what paprika is, it is ground dried sweet peppers. Want more details, Google it.

Recipe: Paprika and tomato rice casserole

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsps. of olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 c. of thinly sliced pork, with a little fat for added flavor
  • 1 tbsp. of chopped garlic
  • 1 to 2 tsps. of sweet paprika (smoked or not)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 c. of chunky tomato sauce
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 to 1 c. of sweet peas, depends on how much you like peas, I guess
  • 1 c. of long-grain rice
  • 1 to 2. of broth, preferably homemade
  • a large handful of spinach leaves

Instructions

  1. Rub the pork with some salt and pepper.
  2. Paprika and tomato rice
  3. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the pork, garlic, paprika and a bit more salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned.
  4. Paprika and tomato rice
  5. Add the onion slices, a bit more salt and pepper. Optionally, if you may add the rest of the paprika. It’ll add a bit more flavor and color but too much can be overpowering too. Stir and cook until the onion slices start to soften.
  6. Paprika and tomato rice
  7. Pour in the tomato sauce. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the diced carrot and sweet peas.
  8. Paprika and tomato rice
  9. Pour in the rice. Add a cup of broth.
  10. Paprika and tomato rice
  11. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 or until the rice is done and the mixture is quite dry.
  12. Tip: After about 20 minutes, check the liquid and the rice. If the rice looks like it’ll need more liquid to cook completely, add more broth.
  13. Paprika and tomato rice
  14. Turn the heat off. Add the spinach leaves to the rice. Cover and leave for 10 minutes with the heat off until the spinach is just wilted.
  15. Paprika and tomato rice
  16. Fluff up the rice to distribute the spinach leaves. Serve hot.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 60 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 3

  • crisma

    This is again that “wala ka nang hahanapin pa” meal, Connie …and if ever someone will ask for something else– hehe, that would have to be– seconds? or thirds? ;) The spinach adds that hint of freshness to the dish!

  • Ken_L

    With the brand of herbs I buy I find smoked paprika MUCH stronger than the normal kind, so people might want to experiment a little to get the flavour they like.

  • Chi

    Yehey, buti na-post ito ng Friday! Now I can add the ingredients I need to my grocery list. I just love one-pot dishes. :-) (Tamad maghugas… hahaha!!!).

    Will make this for hubs’ baon next week. :-D

  • belle

    kanin pa lang, ulam na. love it!

  • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

    Crisma, re the spinach: my thoughts, exactly. Paella-looking rice dishes are common enough — why not add fresh greens?

    Ken_L, with smoked paprika, 1 tsp. would probably be more than enough.

    Chi, you may want to omit the spinach if storing the casserole for days. The water content of the leaves might make spoiling faster.

    belle, all-in-one!

    • crisma

      Yes, Connie, besides the aesthetic appeal of the dish being improved, the spinach adds nutritive value.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aarendal Albert ERT Rendal

    creative, wonderful, yummy dish….love it… :)

  • almina entienza

    ilove cooking …thanks and more power!

  • Paula

    You can keep even the rice vegetarian by substituting the baboy with tokwa, garbanzos, etc.