Longing for Longaniza

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Arroz con longaniza

 

What’s better and more comforting than a rice dish seasoned with a salty meaty sausage, balanced by some crispy, warm and delicious sweet plantains.

Not long ago I was in San Antonio visiting my good friend Laura for the weekend.  Knowing how much I love to cook, she took me to a small local convenience store that carried caribbean food imports [International Food Market]. And let me tell you what a surprise that was!  They had everything!  Cuban, Jamaican, Dominican and Puerto Rican goodies, aisles and freezers packed with those hard to get items I only dream about when packing in my suitcase coming back from PR.

It was there where I found hand made Puerto Rican Longaniza.  A pork sausage seasoned with annatto seeds and cumin, it is truly a rare find outside of smaller grocery stores in the island.  I had been craving it for years, and this was my chance to indulge.

So what to do with this meaty treasure?  I decided to ration it, yes… ration it.  [Officially defined as a fixed amount of a commodity officially allowed to each person during a time of shortage–thank you Mr. Dictionary] This is that kind of treat you want to make last forever.  I just don’t want to cook it all at once.  I want to try it in different dishes, go with the flow.

Here’s my favorite and easiest longaniza recipe, hope you love it as much as I do!

 

Ingredients

Serves two-three people.

  • 3/4 cups of Long grain rice
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp Recaito or Sofrito
  • 1 1/4 cups of water
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 links of Longaniza (pork or chicken…  but I really like pork) –at specialty stores
  • 1/4 cup smoked diced ham
Render the excess fat, and remove it from the pan

Render the excess fat, and remove it from the pan

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Letting the rice hang out with the rest of the ingredients (right before adding water) makes all the flavors sink.

 

 

How to:

  1. Heat a medium sized pan to a medium/high temperature.  Take the longaniza out of the casing and let it render its fat in the pan.  Once you see a good amount of fat on the pan, discard it and leave some to sauté the veggies and softrito.
  2. Remove the longaniza meat from the pan, leaving a little bit of that rendered fat on the pan.  Lower the heat to Med-Low, then add the Recaito/sofrito, tomato paste, diced ham and garlic until all incorporated.
  3. Add the loganiza back to the pan, and rice.  Mix it all together until is well incorporated, then add the water.
  4. Bring the heat to Med High, once the water is boiling, cover the pan and lower the heat to Low.  This step is key, you must close the lid to trap the steam and make sure the rice is cooked through.
  5. Continue to cook on low for 20 minutes, without stirring or opening the lid.   This allows for the rice to cook evenly and for that nice crunchy crust in the bottom of the pan! yum!
  6. After cooking time, add the blanched green peas and give the rice a nice stir to incorporate it all evenly and its ready to eat!

 

¡Buen Provecho!

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Freshly blanched peas for that pop-of-color

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