You know those packaged rice mixes you can buy with the foil bag of mystery spice? When you taste this rice, you’ll forget all about them. This is remarkably easy to make, once you’ve got achiote oil and sofrito on hand. Even if you’re starting from scratch without those two staples, you can still get this on the stove in fifteen minutes. I have never served this at a party without rave reviews. Guests have often said that they could eat just the rice and nothing else. I’m always delighted to tell them how easy it is, but encourage them not to pass on the beans or other accompaniments!
- ½ cup Achiote Oil
- ½ cup Sofrito
- ½ cup alcaparrado (see below) or coarsely chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
- 2 to 3 tablespoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups long grain white rice
- Chicken Broth, homemade or canned as needed (about 4 cups)
Heat the achiote oil in a heavy 4- to 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Stir in the sofrito and cook until most of the water is evaporated. Add the alcaparrado or olives, salt, cumin, pepper, and bay leaves, stirring to combine. When the mixture is bubbling, add the rice, stirring to coat and to fix the color to the rice. Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the rice by the width of two fingers. Bring to a boil and boil until the broth reaches the level of the rice.
Stir the rice once, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, without opening the pot or stirring.
Gently fluff the rice up by scooping the rice from the bottom to the top. Serve hot.
Daisy’s Pantry: Alcaparrado, a mixture of olives, pimientos and capers sold in bottles, is widely available. There are versions made with pitted and unpitted olives. Go for the unpittled version. If you can’t find it, substitute an equal amount of coarsely chopped olives stuffed with pimientos. Throw in a teaspoon of capers if you like.