Saturday, February 25, 2012

RECIPE - Broccoli Rice (Arroz de Brócolis)

Rice is the universal side dish on a Brazilian dinner plate. Often accompanied by cooked dried beans, but not always so, rice is served daily to an overwhelming percentage of the almost 200 million Brazilians. A meal without rice is almost unthinkable for many Brazilians, and when Brazilians travel overseas, it's commonly the scoop of rice that they miss most on non-Brazilian plates.

Even when there are other carbohydrates served at the same meal, rice doesn't relinquish its obligatory status. It's common to see rice and potatoes served on the same plate, or rice and pasta. Sometimes, in fact, all three appear on the same plate - apparently Brazilians haven't heard of the one-starch-per-meal concept.

Often Brazilian rice, though, isn't the plain unadorned, unseasoned white rice that is associated with most Asian cuisines. Many times rice in Brazil is closer in concept to what Asians and Middle Easterners call a pilau or pilaf - rice cooked in a seasoned broth, often with small quantities of meats, vegetables, nuts or dried fruits.

One of the most popular such dishes in Brazil is rice with broccoli (Portuguese: arroz de brócolis). Broccoli served on its own as a side dish is not common in Brazil, perhaps due to its relative priciness, but rice with broccoli is a common sight on buffet tables or lunch or dinner plates. A small quantity of broccoli, chopped up and mixed in with white long-grain rice, adds color and flavor to the rice, adding both to its visual appeal and its flavor.

Broccoli rice is very quick and easy to make and doesn't take much longer to make than plain boiled rice. Try it as a side dish with grilled fish or chicken, or with beef or lamb stews. It's also a particularly good way to get kids who are fussy eater to eat their greens too.
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RECIPE - Broccoli Rice (Arroz de Brócolis)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small onion, finely minced
1 medium bunch broccoli, crown only (reserve the stem for another use), finely chopped
salt to taste
3 cups cooked white long-grain rice, hot

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In a nmedium saucepan, heat the oil, then add the onion and garlic. Saute the vegetables until soft but not browned. Add the chopped broccoli, cover the pan, and sweat the vegetables for about 3 minutes, or until the chopped broccoli is tender. Add the rice and stir vigorously to combine all the ingredients and heat the rice thoroughly. Taste and season for salt, then serve immediately.

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