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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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5 Comments

  1. This recipe is great, I tried it over the weekend and my family loved it. Thanks.

  2. I believe in Cuba this recipe goes by the name of “Arroz con pollo a la Chorrera” and all Cubans there are familiar with this traditional dish even if in recent history the ingredients may not be easy to find, much less a modern replacement Pressure cooker.

    But my mother back in the 60s used to prepare this recipe in her old Presto PC just about every Sunday and she continued to do the same in America on her new Presto; Recently we replaced this aging Presto with the Fagor Splendid model to continue this tradition and I’ve prepared this recipe many times using bone-in chicken thighs (cut along the bone), drumsticks or breasts (cut in bite size pieces) with excellent results, although I’m yet to try Chorizo or Sausages.

    Instead of the ‘Hida sofrito’ mentioned above we add one hefty Tbs of ready-made Goya Sofrito – available in the Latin section of many groceries in the USA- to the Sauté process described above, and substitute Saffron with ‘Goya sazon’, an excellent condiment with saffron (sold in a box with individual packets) that’s also perfect for soups and paellas recipes, instead of whole tomatoes, two Tbs of Tomato Paste dissolved in hot chicken stock will do.

    Cubans usually like to pour into the pot a dash of Beer or Rum (instead of Sherry) at the last moment just before locking the lid, and recently I discovered why my mother prefers to use parboiled rice for this recipe instead of regular long/short grain white, parboiled in the PC absorbs the stock better without becoming all ‘mushy’ and sticky, the grains seem to float in the thick stock without sticking to each other or losing their shape, but don’t forget to rinse it well even if the package label recommends against it, if the rice is not rinsed you may experience some scorching as I did at first.

    By the way, this recipe with parboiled and chicken works perfectly for us with 8 minutes of “cook time” (at 15 PSI) followed by the natural release method, but sometimes after 5 minutes or so I interrupt this process with the quick manual-valve release method without any harmful results.

    Buen apetito!

  3. I tried this recipe a couple of days ago using a cup of Spanish paella rice and four bone-in chicken thighs, as I couldn’t find boneless ones and didn’t want to attempt de-boning. I left out the chickpeas, and cheated a little on the sofrito by using a small can of Redpack tomato sauce along with minced garlic, diced onion, and diced red bell pepper. The other ingredients were as specified in the recipe. Cooked the dish for 6 minutes at high pressure plus a four-minute natural release and then a quick release, as a compromise between Ximena’s recommended cooking time (5 minutes plus quick release) and my usual cooking time for bone-in chicken thighs (8 minutes high pressure plus 4 minutes natural release). Not surprisingly, the thighs came out just about right and the rice was somewhat overcooked. The dish was also a bit soupier than I expected. But the flavor was terrific and it was much quicker to prepare than conventional stovetop or oven arroz con pollo, so with a few minor adjustments, it’s definitely joining my repertoire.

  4. Here is a tasty picture of this recipe of Spanish Risotto or Arroz a la chorrera (Cuban), this time using Italian Sausages…I made this a while back on my 4 Qt Fagor Splendid, I need to make it again…

  5. Here is the picture, I hit the wrong button..

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