Recently, Ray wrote a blog about his new pressure/multi-cooker. This made me remember a post idea I’d had in the past, but had not yet gotten around to – my husband Tom’s Spanish Rice.
Years ago, we’d shared some of our favorite childhood food memories, and the subject of Spanish Rice came up. My idea of the dish was quite different from Tom’s. In my household, we’d grown up with a dish called Pork Chops and Spanish Rice which I’m sure was either from a classic Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It was a family favorite which was always welcome at the dinner table. After Tom began exploring the idea of recreating his childhood food memory beginning with a phone conversation with his mother, I realized that the dish I’d grown up was quite different from the dish he was describing.
Tom was determined to capture that food memory and I’m sure he did, but since that initial success has also tweaked the dish to suit his current tastes. That’s the thing with this dish he tells me, although his mother, grandmother, and great aunt all made the dish, there were subtle differences in each of them. By no means was his family’s Spanish Rice dish made in a pressure cooker. A stove top was all that was needed, but Tom has utilized the pressure cooker for years to make his version of Spanish Rice, and I must say it is delicious and easy.
Pressure Cooker Spanish Rice
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cloves minced garlic, at least
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
- 1 TBSP oregano
- 1 TBSP chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Set the cooker to saute. Heat the olive oil then saute the onions and peppers until soft. Add ground beef and saute while breaking up into small pieces until the meat is browned. Add garlic until fragrant – about 1 minute. Add rice, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper and stir until ingredients are mixed and fragrant – about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn saute off. Stir in chicken stock and undrained tomatoes. Mix well. Lock the lid in place per pressure cooker instructions. Use the high pressure setting for 12-13 minutes, then use a quick release. Open lid and stir in Parmesan cheese. The amount of cheese may be altered to taste.
The nice thing about a recipe like this is that you can tailor it to your own likes or dislikes. If green chiles are too hot for you, substitute another diced tomato with different or no seasonings. Today, I thought I’d add a little flourish with some fresh parsley, which I had never done before, but gave a nice bit of brightness to the dish. Freedom to change a recipe to suit your own tastes doesn’t always come easy for some of us, but it is liberating when it does. As for my childhood Pork Chop and Spanish Rice, we have never made it. Is it a food memory to be treasured or do I risk trying it out on Tom?