You know those packaged rice mixes you can buy with the foil bag
of mystery spice? When you taste this rice, you’ll forget
all about them. This is remarkably easy to make, once you’ve
got achiote oil and sofrito on hand. Even if you’re starting
from scratch without those two staples, you can still get this on
the stove in fifteen minutes. I have never served this at a party
without rave reviews. Guests have often said that they could eat
just the rice and nothing else. I’m always delighted to tell
them how easy it is, but encourage them not to pass on the beans
or other accompaniments!
½ cup Achiote Oil
½ cup Sofrito
½ cup alcaparrado (see below) or coarsely chopped pimiento-stuffed
2 to 3 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
3 cups long grain white rice
Chicken Broth, homemade or canned as needed (about 4 cups)
Heat the achiote oil in a heavy 4- to 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting
lid over medium heat. Stir in the sofrito and cook until most of
the water is evaporated. Add the alcaparrado or olives, salt, cumin,
pepper, and bay leaves, stirring to combine. When the mixture is
bubbling, add the rice, stirring to coat and to fix the color to
the rice. Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the rice by the
width of two fingers. Bring to a boil and boil until the broth reaches
the level of the rice.
Stir the rice once, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for
20 minutes, without opening the pot or stirring.
Gently fluff the rice up by scooping the rice from the bottom to
the top. Serve hot.
Daisy’s Pantry: Alcaparrado, a mixture of olives, pimientos
and capers sold in bottles, is widely available. There are versions
made with pitted and unpitted olives. Go for the unpitted version.
If you can’t find it, substitute an equal amount of coarsely
chopped olives stuffed with pimientos. Throw in a teaspoon of capers
if you like.