Basic Yellow Rice (and Variations)

  • 1/2 cup Achiote Oil
  • 1 cup Sofrito
  • ¼ cup alcaparrado or coarsely chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher or fine sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 5 cups, or as needed, chicken broth, homemade or store-bought

Makes about 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes (with ready-made sofrito and achiote oil; 20 minutes without)
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Heat the achiote oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy 4 to 5-quart pot with a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat. Stir in the sofrito and alcaparrado and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the sofrito is sizzling. Season with the salt, pepper, and cumin. Toss in the bay leaves.

Raise the heat to high and add the rice. Cook, stirring, until the rice is coated with the achiote oil-sofrito and the grains begin to turn “chalky,” about 3 minutes. Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the rice by one inch. Bring to a boil and boil until the level of the broth meets the level of the rice. Lower the heat to very low, stir the rice thoroughly but only once, and cover. Cook until the rice is tender but with a little bite and all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Do not uncover the pot or stir the rice while it cooks. Fluff with a fork before serving.


Yellow Rice with Vienna Sausages : Add two 5-ounce cans of drained Vienna sausages to the rice just before adding the chicken broth

Yellow Rice With Crab: Substitute bottled clam juice for the chicken stock. Add 2 cups (about 10 ounces) lump crabmeat and either a large (about 15-ounce) can of corn niblets, drained, or 2 cups frozen corn niblets to the rice just before adding clam juice

Three Bean Paella: Drain and rinse one 15.5-ounce can of each: chick peas, pink beans,  and black-eyed peas. Add the beans along with 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika after the rice is tossed in the oil-sofrito mixture. Proceed as above. If you or someone you love is vegetarian, substitute veg stock for the chicken and make a meal of it. Mexican rice: Add 1 red pepper, cored, seeded and finely diced, one 8-ounce can (or 1 cup) corn niblets, drained, one 8-ounce can Spanish style tomato sauce, and 1 cup pitted small black olives along with the sofrito.

Rice with Pigeon Peas: Add 1 ½ pounds smoked pork neck bones into the sofrito mixture before adding the rice and stir until coated. Just before adding the broth, stir one 13-ounce bag frozen pigeon peas or one 15-ounce can pigeon peas, drained, into the rice. Proceed as above.

TIP: If you’re using store-bought broth for this or any rice that calls for sofrito, up the amount of sofrito by about ¼ cup or so to make up for any flavor missing from the broth.

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