Non-paella rice dishes

Today we bring you other recipes, very Valencian and which stem from the typical paella; rice dishes with a designation of origin, having a long tradition, and which are still prepared up and down the region.  

Arroz al horno, arroz `amb fessols i naps´ (con alubias y nabos in Spanish) or arroz con costra from Alicante are some of the delicious Valencian dishes that are not paella and which live in the shadow of our world-renowned recipe. For those already-initiated aficionados of the Region of Valencia who wish to know more about these lands, we offer you this week a post which abounds in the art of cooking.

paellavalencianaWhat better way to get to know a language than by trying out its most common recipes? The school Españolé puts on a wide range of courses and activities which don´t just present a shop window for the Spanish culture and language but which are rather a total immersion in its ways and customs. Some of the reasons that many give for coming to Valencia to learn the language are the quality of life and the delicious Mediterranean diet, and the teachers never stop answering questions about rice and tapas. We´ve already dedicated time on another occasion to paella, so today we are going to talk about other wonderful rice dishes, less well-known among tourists but still appreciated.

Arroz al horno is a highly popular and delicious classic dish, but it is not for vegetarians. Unlike other Valencian dishes, this is baked in the oven in a clay dish and using the leftovers from cocido (a copious traditional dish made from vegetables, chicken and beef). It´s a recipe that comes from the area of La Costera, in Xàtiva there is even a national competition held annually. Its ingredients are: chick peas, pork ribs, black pudding, tomato, garlic, sliced potatoes and the rice, which is added once all the previously-mentioned items have been cooked, together with the stock. This stock may be of water or the cocido stock, and there is a golden rule as regards proportions: twice as much liquid as for rice, and you must know the number of people sitting down to eat. arrosforn

Arroz con alubias y nabos (rice with haricot beans and turnips) is a dish somewhere between creamy and soup-like, to be found in all parts of the Region of Valencia during the winter months because of its hearty, filling nature. An important part of it is meat, with pigs´ trotters and both black and white pudding, but there are also vegetables such as turnips, swedes, edible thistle, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, together with haricot beans and saffron, a seasoning that makes the difference in Spanish cooking. Once the vegetables and meat are cooked, they are put to one side and the sofrito (sauté) can now be prepared; bring the liquid from cooking the beans to the boil, and add the rice. When it is nice and creamy, add the rest of the previously cooked ingredients. It is often eaten along with raw onion slices.

Arroz con costra is very typical of the province of Alicante, especially the area around Elche. It is made with chicken and rabbit – like a real paella valenciana – but also with sausage and black pudding, which are slowly cooked all together in a clay dish together with finely chopped tomato, garlic and paprika – basic ingredients of a good Spanish-style sofrito. The sausage and black pudding are removed and the rice added dry so that it absorbs the stock, its quantity is proportionate to the number of guests. The chick peas are added, and the dish is placed in a pre-heated oven and let cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated, at which point we put the sausage and black pudding pieces on top. Finally, beaten egg is poured over the whole, which is put back in the oven to give it the unmistakable touch of the costra dorada (golden crust) in order to create this unique and delicious dish.

Mouthwatering, don´t you think? There´s nothing like practising our language while preparing good food!


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