Ximena’s Arroz Caldoso Spanish Risotto – Reader Recipe

I’m so happy to share a recipe from a reader who is such a talented artist! Ximena is the force behind Lobstersquad, a food blog with drawings.

The fact that she took the time to make a special drawing for this recipe speaks to her second passion, cooking.. faster!! She is a dedicated mother of two that keep her on her toes and,  if you haven’t already guessed, an  illustrator! A Spaniard, now living in Scotland, she was the first person I thought to contact when a reader on my Facebook wall asked for an authentic Spanish rice recipe

In her words:

Laura emailed me a while ago asking about “Spanish rice” made in a pressure cooker. There´s a lot of rice in Spain, of course, but not that exact recipe. This happens a lot. We have something we eat practically every week, all over Spain, called “arroz a la cubana” or Cuban rice, which mystifies Cubans, who´ve never eaten such a dish.

Anyway, rice in a pressure cooker becomes a sludgy mess, if what you´re aiming for is the sort of dry, separate, shiny grain, crusted stickily at the bottom of the pan so beloved of paella fans. The pressure makes the starch come out of the rice in a bang, and makes everything cloudy…or creamy. So instead of having paella or Spanish rice in mind, you should change instead, and cook arroz caldoso, our risotto-like dish.

There are many ways to make it, and I suggest you take the overall method from this, and the quantities and timing, and roll with whatever ingredients you have on hand. Like risotto, it´s best made when you have some stock around, but it´s not a deal breaker.

Pressure Cooked Ximena’s Arroz Caldoso – Spanish RisottoFor sofrito:
1 Onion, chopped
1 Pepper, chopped
1 Garlic, clove finely chopped
400g or 14.5 oz can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes, drained (or a can of “Tomato Frito”)
Chorizo, Boneless Chicken Thighs or Seafood
A few saffron threads (or a packet of powdered saffron added after pressure is released)
1/3 cup Sherry
400g or 14.5 oz can of Chickpeas, well drained
1 cup Short-Grain Rice
2 1/4 cups StockSo, first off, the sofrito. This is going to take the longest, and the pc won´t help you. Onions, peppers, garlic and tomato have to be sauteed into submission, and that will take time, even if you help it along with a spoonful of sugar.

One onion, one red pepper, one clove of garlic and one drained can of whole peeled tomatoes is more than enough for one time. You can, if you are so minded, do vast quantities of this and freeze portions for several rice dishes.

Or you can cheat, like most everyone else in Spain, and sauté onions and peppers briefly, then add “tomato frito”, which comes in a can and is a sweetish cooked tomato sauce. Be generous with the olive oil.

You can cheat some more and start with a can of Hida sofrito, if you are in Spain. That´s some very good stuff, and I miss it.

Once that is done, push it to the side and briefly brown whatever your protein of choice is. Chorizo, or sausage, or chicken thighs (no bone). Here´s the moment to add a few saffron threads, if that´s to your taste.

Now pour a bit of Sherry over it, let it reduce.

Now add the rice (short grain), move it around, let it soak up the oil, and then top up with the stock. This is when you can add a can of chickpeas, well drained.

Close the lid, bring the pressure up to HIGH, and cook for five minutes and open with the quick-release method.

If you´re making a seafood version, give it four minutes and finish cooking the rice with the fish and prawns or mussels or whatever in.

If you´re using leftovers, add them at the end so they don´t dry out.

The quantities are 1 cup of rice for 2 and 1/4 cups stock. It´s a simple multiplication, but just so you know, I make 2 cups for my husband and I. We eat it just done, hot and lovely, and the children have the warmed up remains for dinner.

Serves 2-3.

Illustration and Recipe Credit: XIMENA MAIER, Lobstersquad

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