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Over the last few months, we’ve been trying quite a few recipes from the cookbook, “Food of Portugal” and this Arroz de Tomate – or Portuguese Tomato Rice – is now one of our go-to side dishes.
According to the cookbook’s author Jean Anderson, this recipe is a favorite all over Portugal – but best prepared in the Province of Alentejo in the South-Central part of Portugal, where plump juicy tomatoes grow red and ripe and full of flavor thanks to favorable growing conditions.
In any case, try to prepare this Portuguese Tomato Rice using the ripest, reddest fresh tomatoes you can find! It’s a dish that is super easy to prepare – and also very delicious! Diced onions and garlic are sautéed in bacon fat and the tomatoes are then added and allowed to simmer so they too pick up the wonderful, smoky bacon flavor. Finally rice and broth are added – and it all cooks together until the rice is tender.
We’ve seen some other variations of Portuguese Tomato Rice that have green bell peppers added, as well as meat such as sausage, pork or chicken. Either way – this is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways!
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Portuguese Tomato Rice (Arroz de Tomate)
The original recipe adapted from ‘Food of Portugal’ calls for seeding the tomatoes before cooking. But – we didn’t seed the tomatoes, and the finished rice was still fantastic. However, if you prefer, you can seed your tomatoes.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon bacon fat (use lard if you don’t have bacon fat, but we don’t recommend using vegetable shortening since it won’t add much flavor to this dish)
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 cups fresh tomatoes cored and cut into large one inch chunks (save any juice from cutting)
- 1 1/2 cups broth (we used vegetable, but chicken or beef will also work)
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium pot with a tight-fitting lid, melt bacon fat in the oil over medium high.
- Add onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes with their juice, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add stock, bring to a boil and add rice, salt and pepper.
- Cover and after it comes to a boil, lower to a gentle simmer and cook 20 minutes covered.
- Remove from heat and fluff with fork before serving.
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