Friday, December 12, 2008

Arroz Amarillo Con Salchichas (Yellow Rice With Vienna Sausage)

This is one of those other really Cuban home-style dishes you are very unlikely to find outside Cuban homes.

It's another one of those "comfort" foods to me, it's not something we will make if we have special guests or anything like that but it's one of those very humble dishes we will make when we don't feel like spending a long time in the kitchen and want something quicker, yet it is still one of our favorite yellow rice dishes that always reminds everyone of my "Tata" (my grandmother) when we didn't feel like cooking a meat dish, and a bunch of other things the yellow rice with Vienna sausage with a big simple salad was a satisfying, filling, inexpensive, quick to make meal, then whatever we have leftover from previous day's (usually some type of bean stew which we always have in the fridge) is served as a soup on the side although it's not really necessary but hey beans are good for you :)

I know some may say, "What canned Vienna Sausages isn't that American, it's not in Cuban cooking?" well it does have a place in Cuban cooking along with SPAM, Deviled Ham, and Cream Cheese which are mostly associated with Americans. We have Deviled Ham dips, Cream Cheese is used to pair with really sweet Guava paste on crackers, or ham and cream cheese sandwiches, SPAM is sometimes lightly fried in oil, then in the dripping sauteee a bunch of onions for a quick meal with rice, etc. It's most likely due to the American influence in pre-castro day's when Cuba would recieve a lot of tourism from various places and it is also relatively a close distance from USA, so these products easily made their way to Cuba. Also pre-castro Cuba had stuff like Baskin Robbins also but had more "exotic" tropical flavors available like Mango ice cream, Coconut, Guanabana (similar to Chirimoya which I can get fresh :), Mamey (which it sucks that I can only get the frozen pulp where I live), Pineapple, etc. well that's the thriving pre-castro Cuba I bet they only have Vanilla and Chocolate now and it's probably all artificial... and the good stuff is probably reserved for the tourist...

-3 cups white long-grain rice
-2-3 cans that are 5 oz. of Vienna Sausage (I used 1 can 9 0z. and another 5 oz.)
-1 green or red bell pepper finely minced
-1 medium onion finely minced
-6 cloved of garlic finely minced
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-2 teaspoon salt (trust me your cooking a big portion)
-1 1/2 teaspoons "Bijol" (annato seed powder)
-2 bay leaves (optional)
-extra-virgin olive oil

(1)Heat olive oil on medium high lower heat to medium and sautee onion and bell pepper for about 5-6 minutes, then add garlic and sautee for another 3-4 minutes, add cumin, bijol, and bay leaves, gently stir and let sautee for another 1 minute, add Vienna sausages cut into 3 sections gently fold let cook 1 minute.

(2)While sauteeing don't just stand there haha, take advantage and wash the rice well and drain, place in the rice cooker, add water nesseccary to cook rice, and set aside, clean up whatever mess you made.

(3)Add the sautee you made to rice and water along with 2 teaspoons salt gently fold in cover and turn on rice cooker. When rice cooker beeps it's done and ready to eat.
You can gently fold in the vienna sausages or leave them on top so everyone can scoop them together with the rice, I folded them back in

(4)While waiting for rice to cook you can quickly make a salad, heat up the leftovers you may want to eat with it (in my case the lentil stew) and I had pumpkin fritter batter yesterday that I made early in the day which I fried up while waiting for the rice to cook which I made yesterday and clean up whatever mess.

(5)This dish tastes really good the Vienna Sausages give it a very distinct taste.

P.S. You can adjust the recipe to cook on stove top.

Amount of water needed varies depending on the rice you used, for regular long-grain white rice (like Mahatma and Blue Ribbon, etc.) use 1 1/2 cups water per cup of rice, if using something like a long-grain Jasmine new crop rice use equal water to rice, etc. or if your so used to eating rice (like me) you can probably tell by just looking if you have the right amount of water or using the "Asian finger trick" haha. (You know that trick many of them use like if the water above the rice measures up to the first like of their index finger it's perfect regardless the amount of rice or so they say)