Thursday, September 23, 2010

RECIPE - Red Rice With Milk (Arroz-da-terra de Leite)

The natural variation of white rice which is called arroz-da-terra (rice of the earth) or arroz vermelho (red rice) in Brazil has always been a part of the traditional cuisine in the semi-arid region of northeastern Brazil known as the Sertão. This harsh land, where it rains infrequently and which suffers periodic droughts of catastrophic proportions, has a place in Brazilian mythology and culture similar to the "Far West" in American culture - an unforgiving, violent land where only the strongest survive. Literature, music, films and television have all influenced the way this region is seen in the rest of Brazil, but the reality is often different, particularly now that irrigation and water-control projects have reduced the social costs of the area's aridity.

The cuisine of the Sertão reflects the character of the land and of its inhabitants. There is a limited range of ingredients, and cooking techniques are restricted to those which were available in historic times, primarily cooking over a wood fire, either on a stove or in a campfire.

This simple rice dish, which in the Sertão is a traditional accompaniment to carne de sol, is surprisingly delicious and satisfying, and would go well with any grilled or barbequed meat. The Brazilian red rice used in the original recipe is not available outside Brazil, but other red rices, such as Wehani rice can very successfully be substituted.
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RECIPE - Red Rice With Milk (Arroz-da-terra de Leite)
Serves 4

1 cup red rice (arroz-da-terra)
4 cups water
salt to taste
2 cups whole milk, hot
2 Tbsp. whipping cream
Italian parsley, finely minced, to taste
1 sprig Italian parsley, to decorate
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In a large saucepan add the rice and water. Salt the water to taste. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring regularly to avoid sticking. When the water is almost totally absorbed, add the milk and cream and continue to cook, stirring more frequently, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

Remove from heat. Mound the rice in a serving bowl or platter. Sprinkle with the minced parsley and add the sprig to decorate the dish. Serve immediately.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brazileira by Abril Editora

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