One thing we share with other former Spanish colonies is our love for rice cooked paella style. A popular dish in Puerto Rico and Colombia, arroz con chorizo, or rice with sausage, is a one-pan dish that is tasty, filling and so easy to make.
There are so many ways to cook arroz con chorizo. Some recipes include olives among the ingredients while some add tomatoes to the rice. What are always present, aside from the rice and sausages of course, are vegetables. Bell pepper, carrot, peas, chickpeas, beans… For my version of arroz con chorizo, I chose carrot, peas and shredded cabbage.
What sausage is best for this dish? The kind packed with spices. Spanish chorizo with plenty of garlic and paprika is really the best choice. Use dried or fresh; either will work. They have enough flavor in them to do magic with the rice and vegetables. But because I love bacon, I decided to supplement the sausages with a little belly bacon. Not a lot. Just enough to add a little more tasty fat to the dish.
Making arroz con chorizo starts with browning the sausages (and bacon, in my case) until they render fat. Then, some chopped onions go in and everything is sauteed together until the onion pieces are soft and translucent.
No garlic? It’s optional. I used garlicky sausages and adding more garlic would have been overkill.
Next, the vegetables go in the pan. I added the carrot cubes and shredded cabbage first and cooked them with the meat until coated with the reddish oil from the sausages.
Now, the rice which I didn’t bother to rinse. I used Basmati. Long-grain rice has low starch content so there is practically no starch to rinse off.
Is long-grain rice a must? Well, no, but using rice with shorter grains will likely result in a dish with a different texture.
But doesn’t paella use arborio, a medium-grain rice?
Well, this isn’t paella. This is arroz con chorizo which is an adaptation of paella. Purist rules don’t apply to adaptations because an adaptation is not meant to replicate the original with exactness.
Next comes the liquid in which the rice, meat and vegetables would cook. Bone broth (or chicken broth) is ideal but if you’re confident that your sausages pack enough flavor in them, you can get away with just water.
Just stir everything together, then sprinkle in the peas, cover the pan and let everything cook over low heat.
Ten minutes later, my arroz con chorizo was ready. All that remained was to make sure that the seasonings were correct.
I ate a spoonful of rice and decided that the dish needed salt and pepper.
A little stirring after the seasonings were added, then a second taste test and I was ready to serve my arroz con chorizo.
Arroz con Chorizo (Rice with Sausage)
- 4 pieces Spanish chorizo (about 350 grams total weight)
- 50 grams belly bacon
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 small white cabbage or 1/2 of a large one
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 1 cup Basmati rice or other long-grain rice
- 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups bone broth or chicken broth or just plain water
- 1/2 cup sweet peas
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- fried eggs to serve
- sliced scallions to garnish
Cut the chorizos into rings about half an inch thick.
Cut the bacon into thin strips.
Peel and roughly chop the onion.
Peel (or not) the carrot and cut into half-inch cubes.
Thinly slice the cabbage.
Heat the olive oil in a wide pan.
Spread the chorizo and bacon on the pan. Cook over medium-high heat without disturbing for about two minutes. Stir and continue cooking until lightly browned and fat has been rendered.
Add the chopped onion to the meat in the pan. Saute until softened and translucent.
Add the carrot cubes and cabbage strips. Stir until the vegetables are coated with oil. Note that I do not advise adding salt and pepper at this point because the sausages and bacon contain a lot of salt and spices already. If those aren't enough, you may adjust the seasonings later.
Pour in the rice followed by the broth (or water). Note that the capacity of rice to absorb water differs from one variety to the next. To be on the safe side, use only a cup and a half of liquid. You can add more later if needed. Stir to distribute everything evenly. Bring to a simmer.
Scatter the peas over the contents of the pan.
Cover the pan, set the heat to low and let everything cook together for 10 minutes. Check the rice. If still underdone, drizzle in another quarter cup of broth or water and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.
When all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is fully cooked, taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.
Ladle the rice into plates or bowls. Top each bowl of rice with a fried egg. Sprinkle in some sliced scallions. Serve the arroz con chorizo while hot.