Rice stew is another family classic: very simple, easily expandable and cheap. It’s a quick meal (30 monutes, more or less) for both summer and winter days (it just depends on how hot you serve it). My mother always whipped this up when there was no time and no money for anything else.
It works a bit like a risotto, but has a bit more backbone because of the meat. It’s also easy to reheat (if it gets a little crust on the bottom, all the better). The taste is creamy and fresh from the tomato paste and the bell peppers, not too heavy, thanks to the rice, and will get your through a day of working on footnotes thanks to the meat.
An aside on the operatic front: according to this finding by La Cieca, Joyce DiDonato’s “Furore” cover with its Farah Fawcett hair has been outdone. What’s it with mezzos and 80s hair? And just what is Ms. Garanca singing there?
Back to the food:
Quick Rice Stew (feeds 2-3)
- 250g rice (the normal, white Parboiled kind)
- 400g ground meat, mixed beef and pork
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into small squares
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into small squares
- 1-2 tbsp. tomato paste (I use tripe concentrated)
- 2-3 tomatoes, medium size
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- salt, pepper
- 100ml white wine
- 500ml vegetable or chicken stock
- In a large pan or pot – one that has a lid to go with it – on high heat, heat up 1 tbsp. of olive oil.
- Add the meat, and move it around until in bits lightly browned on all sides.
- Push the meat to one side of the pan, add the next tbsp. of olive oil on the other side and add the bell pepper.
- Reduce heat to 2/3 and roast for about 3-5 minutes, stir and mix with the meat.
- Once more, move the meat and now also the bell peppers to one side of the pan and add the rice.
- Allow the rice to turn a little translucent (should take about 2 minutes), then add the white wine.
- Stir until the ingredients are mixed evenly. Then add the stock and cover the pan with a lid.
- Reduce the heat to 1/3 and let the stew simmer until the rice has soaked up most of the liquid. Depending on pan, stove and rice, it should take about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash the tomatoes and cut them into dice.
- Add the tomatoes to the stew when the liquid has been soaked up by the rice.
- Stir in the tomato paste (I always put in a little more since I love the taste in this dish) and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Allow to settle for a minute more, then turn off the heat and serve. Or, if it’s a hot summer day, allow to cool down and then serve lukewarm or cold.