|For the rice dish|
|4 cloves||(0.42 oz)|
|1 tbsp||(0.47 oz)|
|½ tsp||(0.04 oz)|
|2 dash||(0.01 oz)|
|2 leaves||(0.01 oz)|
|1 liter||(35 oz)|
|3 ½ oz|
|1 dash||(0.01 oz)|
|For the garnish|
Preparing dried beans (optional)
If you are using dried kidney beans, you should soak them overnight. Then pour off the soaking water, rinse the beans under running water, and cook them in fresh water for at least 45 minutes or until they are soft. If you are instead using canned beans, just have these ready to use later in the recipe.
The age of the beans and storage conditions are two factors that determine how long legumes need to cook. If the beans have been stored under poor conditions, for example, in a warm place or in the sun, they tend to dry out during the storage period and may need to be cooked for up to 4 hours. It is best to check the expiration date before using dried beans.
For the rice dish
Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel the garlic cloves and crush them using the flat side of a knife.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the garlic and onions on medium heat about 5 minutes until translucent.
Wash and quarter the tomato. Wash the bell pepper, remove the stem and core, and then dice. Add both to the saucepan and sauté about 5 more minutes until the tomato pieces soften.
Add the ground paprika, saffron, and bay leaves and sauté briefly.
The original recipe calls for smoked paprika instead of sweet ground paprika, and this gives the dish a different taste on account of the smoked flavor.
Carefully stir in the uncooked rice and mix gently until combined.
Add the vegetable broth and stir in the cooked kidney beans. Let simmer on medium heat until the rice is tender. This should take about 15 minutes.
If you are using canned kidney beans, it is best to add these for the last half of the cooking time as they are generally already quite soft.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Canned beans are often salted and you may therefore want to use less salt. And if you are using a salted vegetable broth, you may not need to add any additional salt.
For the garnish
Wash the lemon and cut into slices. Chop the parsley.
For four servings, the author uses 1 handful of chopped parsley, which is equal to 6 grams.
Serve the “Rice Dish from Murcia” on plates or in bowls and garnish with the chopped parsley and lemon slices.
“Empedrado murciano” is a typical Spanish rice dish that is common in the Murcia region. It has a unique flavor thanks to the spices smoked paprika and saffron.
Saffron: Saffron needs to be stored in an airtight metal or glass container. Saffron only retains its color and essential oil when it is protected against light and moisture. Saffron that has been properly stored will give dishes an intense golden yellow color.
Bay leaves: Bay leaves are aromatic and slightly bitter. The flavor develops more fully if you make small tears in the leaves before cooking. Fresh leaves can be wrapped in a moist towel and stored in the refrigerator for several weeks. Dried bay leaves should be stored in an airtight container and kept in a dry, dark place.
Kidney beans: Dried kidney beans can be stored for a long period of time if they are in an airtight container and a dry place. Canned kidney beans stay good almost indefinitely. If possible, you should use natural canned beans that don’t have any added salt or other additives. Kidney beans take on the flavor of the foods they are cooked with and retain their shape.
Rice in Spain (text from author): “Arabs introduced rice to the Iberian peninsula and since then it has been grown primarily on the Mediterranean coast. There are several typical rice dishes in Spanish cuisine and many restaurants that have specialized in rice. They are called arrocerias.”
Reducing the salt: The high salt content of this recipe comes primarily from the vegetable broth. If you make your own broth or instead use some vegetable stock (depending on the concentration 200–300 ml and then the rest water), this recipe can be made using relatively little salt. You can also refrain from adding additional salt and pepper to taste if the vegetable broth itself contains enough salt.
Advantages of dried beans: White beans sold commercially (as well as other types of beans and legumes) are generally either dried or precooked and canned. While the canned variety is naturally easier and quicker to use, the dried beans have a better taste. And when you cook them athome, you can decide how firm you want them to be (Canned beans are often soft or even mushy). In addition, canned beans often contain unnecessary additives or added salt. As a result, it is best to use natural dried beans whenever possible.
Types and availability of smoked paprika: Smoked paprika is a typical Spanish spice that is available in a number of varieties such as sweet, sweet-sour, and hot. For this recipe, the author uses sweet smoked paprika. Although smoked paprika is a ground paprika, it can’t be compared to conventional sweet paprika. The special way that it is made by smoking pimiento peppers makes smoked paprika a unique spice. It is available in specialty stores, on the Internet, and sometimes in larger supermarkets.
Quick method: Buy cooked beans so that you can skip over the first preparation step, or use a pressure cooker after soaking. This will allow you to cut the cooking time in half. After you add the soaked beans to the pressure cooker, you can continue with the following steps as the beans should already be done and ready to add to the other ingredients after 20–25 minutes.