Spanish Rice – not to be confused with Mexican rice (see here) – is a wonderfully aromatic dish that gets its bright yellow color from saffron.
Sure – you can use turmeric to give it a similar yellow color if you can’t get saffron – but saffron, with its distinctive and delicious flavor really makes this dish! A little bit of saffron goes a long way so you only need a little. And while saffron has a reputation for being very expensive, we were able to find a bottle of saffron in our local supermarket with 4 vials of saffron threads for just $9.99. (Each vial shown here contains about a quarter teaspoon and we used one vial for this recipe.)
Traditionally, Spanish Rice also includes onions , garlic and some sort of chili pepper (we used jalapeño pepper in this version). Spanish rice is typically cooked with chicken stock however vegetable stock would work just fine if you prefer a vegetarian version. Our recipe also includes a few non-traditional ingredients (such as diced fresh tomatoes and orange bell pepper, plus a light sprinkle of cilantro for garnish) in addition to the more traditional Spanish rice ingredients – but we think you’ll really enjoy the results!
- ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups diced onion
- 1 cup Basmati or long grain white rice
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1½ cups diced fresh tomato
- 1 large orange bell pepper seeded stemmed and diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, stemmed and minced
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Two tablespoons minced cilantro for garnish (optional)
- Place a few tablespoons of warm tap water into a small bowl and add the saffron threads to steep.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a small Dutch oven or other oven proof pan with a lid, heat oil over medium high heat.
- Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Lower heat to medium and add rice. Stir often for 5 minutes or until rice has just started to brown.
- Add stock and all other ingredients including the small bowl with saffron threads and water and stir to combine.
- Cover and place in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and keep covered for five more minutes.
- Fluff with a fork, garnish with optional chopped cilantro and serve.
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