Tag Archives: Saffron

Integrale Milanese “Mexicana”

25 May Integrale Milanese "Mexicana"

For those of you who read my blog, you know that one of my all-time favorite ingredients is saffron. This delicious, but expensive, spice has a unique one-two culinary punch. It has a wonderful hay-like, flowery-honey flavor when used correctly, and it brings a very unique yellow color to whatever it’s cooked with.  I use it whenever I get the chance to use it in rice, chicken, or seafood dishes. Shortly after I won the 4thAnnual Marx Foods Morel Blogger Recipe Challenge, I jumped at the chance to enter another Marx Foods challenge, the Marx Foods Integrale Gauntlet. The Gauntlet is a 3 round challenge with the star being Integrale Rice!

Integrale Milanese "Mexicana"

Integrale Milanese “Mexicana”

Integrale rice is an Italian brown rice that is  really not a separate variety of risotto rice, but rather a way of processing the grain so that the rice maintains its raw fiber shell, vitamin B1, B5, B6, proteins and minerals. It is incredibly healthy and only grown and harvested by organic means.

Integrale Rice

Integrale Rice

It has a slightly nutty taste and a firmer texture that enhances the “bite” of your risotto! Since this is a contest sponsored by Marx Foods, they kindly sent out 1 kilo of this amazing Integrale rice to use in my recipe!

When I approached the planning of  my dish for the contest, I knew that I wanted to use saffron, I really thought that it would complement the nutty flavor of the brown rice, but I wanted to add my own twist, using the Mexican flavors that I love as well.  In my mind, I had visions of two different dishes, Risotto Milanese and Paella. Risotto Milanese being a classically rich risotto, made with bone marrow, Parmesan cheese, and of course saffron; and Paella Valencia, the mother of all rice dishes in Spain, made with Spanish Chorizo, seafood, chicken, roasted red peppers, paprika, and finally, of course, the saffron. So, doing a bit of simulation in my head (as all engineers do from time to time), I  would use the basic concept of Risotto Milanese and add tequila in place of the white wine, and mix in a bit of the essence of Paella Valencia, somewhat deconstructed, using fresh Mexican chorizo instead of the Spanish chorizo. So what place does Tequila have in a risotto you may ask? I believe that alcohol  opens up the rice and prepares it to absorb the liquids introduced into the risotto. So why not use Tequila, and using Añejo Tequila would give the risotto another unique dimension of sweet,  “oak-y-ness” flavor once the harsh alcohol cooks off.  I would finish off the risotto with a mantecatura of butter and Manchego cheese. Manchego differs from Parmigiano-Reggiano in that it is made from sheep’s milk rather than cow’s milk. The cheese has a well developed, creamy flavor, with a distinctive, but not t0o overwhelming tangy aftertaste that is characteristic of sheep’s milk. It is the mother of all Spanish cheeses, it just sings “Marry me” to the saffron!

So I set about making the chorizo fresh on Monday night. I have a standard recipe that I learned some time ago in Mexico. I also prepared my chicken stock on Monday as well.  Having given some time for the chorizo to “cure” a few days to enhance its flavors, it was time to get dirty and get to the challenge! Risotto, once the technique is mastered, is a wonderful way to start a meal, or a stunning side to accompany any protein. Just a sidebar on Integrale rice. It is a slightly different beast, because of the raw grain shell. It takes a bit more stock and a bit more time to cook. I had to use about a cup more stock and I added about 10 minutes of cooking time to get it perfectly al dente. With some constant attention, a bit of pampering, and a shot or two of Don Julio, in about 30 minutes you have a deliciously rich risotto that will be sure to bless any table! Now I call on everyone to support us and go out and vote for this dish on May 30th!

Integrale Milanese "Mexicana"

Integrale Milanese “Mexicana”

 

 

Integrale Milanese “Mexicana”

  • 1 ½ cups of Integrale Rice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2  medium yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup Tequila Añejo
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra vigin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon saffon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ lb. Mexican Chorizo
  • ¼ cup Manchego Cheese
  • 5 cups Chicken Broth
  1. Place the 5 cups of broth  in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Add the saffron to the broth and keep very warm.
  3. Meanwhile, take the chorizo and heat over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
  4. Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Once it is hot, add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, but not browning!
  6. Add the rice and stir with your Girariso to combine.
  7. Add the Tequila and cook until it is completely absorbed.
  8. Start adding the stock about 1 cup at a time and stirring constantly until each cup of stock is completely absorbed before adding the next. After 4 cups of stock have been added, start tasting the rice (or about 20 minutes)
  9. When the rice is al dente, remove from heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the cheese and stir vigorously.
  10. Plate the risotto and sprinkle with the chorizo. Garnish with fresh parsley or fresh oregano.
  11. SERVE IMMEDIATELY!
Integrale Milanese "Mexicana"

Integrale Milanese “Mexicana”

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Bacalao en Cilantro

28 Mar Bacalao con Cilantro

If you ever get to travel to Mexico’s Gulf Coast, you will find that Mexicans really know their fish; it’s not all just about tacos and Ceviche!  Bacaloa en Cilantro

I had some fresh Haddock filets that I wanted to cook and my family does not particularly like the standard approach New Englanders take to their seafood; often deep-fried in heavy breading, or baked, drowned in butter and topped with crackers. Sometimes, there is nothing better than whipping up some beer-batter, deep-fry those filets, and have yourself some luscious Baja Fish Tacos, but were looking for something a bit more healthy! As I went through the recipe Rolodex in my head, I remembered a recipe that I once read in Diana Kennedy’s The Essential Cusines of Mexico for Pescado en Cilantro. In her version she uses snapper, but I had no access to fresh snapper, so I improvised and used the haddock instead!

 What I really like about this dish is the sauce. The chile, onion, and cilantro flavors combined with the fiery juice from the can of chiles make for a unique combination. To accompany this dish, I decided on using my go-to recipe of Saffron Rice. I just love the flavor of saffron with seafood.

You can go about the preperation two different ways. You can make the sauce and add the sauce to the casserole dish halfway through cooking, or you can simply drizzle it on the fish once you plate. I, out of sheer forgetfulleness (I wanted to cook the fish in the sauce to add the flavors of the fish and lime), ended up drizzling the sauce around the rice. It all turned out well in the end, the acidity and heat of the cilantro sauce complimented well with the fish and rice. After all, the taste of the sea, the chiles, cilantro, and saffron seem to be a match hard to beat!

 

Bacalao en Cilantro

(Baked Haddock in a cilantro sauce)

  • 2-3 pounds haddock or cod, cut into 6 ounce portions.
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 Jalepeños em escabeche
  • 1 cup of cilantro, packed
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons juice from the chile can
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Cut the fish into 6 ounce portions
  3. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a saute pan and saute the onions over medium high heat for about 5-6 minutes.
  4. In a casserole dish pour the lime juice and lay down half the onions.
  5. Season the fish with salt and pepper and place the fish on the bed of lime juice and onions, drizzle 2 tablespoons of oilve oil and place the rest of the onions on the fish
  6. Cover with foil and bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
  7. Take a clove of garlic, the jalepeños, the juice from the chile can and the cilantro and place into a 3 cup food processor, drizzle in the remaining olive oil with the motor running.
  8. When the fish is cooked, serve by laying down the saffron rice, top the rice with onions and a piece of the fish. At this point you can drizzle on the sauce or spoon it along the circumference of the rice. Top with chopped cilantro and serve!

    Bacalao con Cilantro

    Bacalao con Cilantro

Saffron Rice

  • 1 1/2  cups white jasmine or basmati rice
  • 1/4 white onion diced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Saffron threads
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  1. Place the water, saffron, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then turn off to let the saffron steep.
  2. Heat oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  3. Add onion, rice, and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes
  4. Add the saffron mixture and bring to a simmer.
  5. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
  6. Let rice stand, covered, off heat 5 minutes
  7. Fluff with a fork and serve with your fish!

Arroz con Pollo

7 Feb

Looking for a simple, delicious meal that can feed your entire family for days? Then this Latin American classic is just the dish! Arroz con pollo is essentially chicken nestled in a melange of saffron rice, onion, garlic, and fresh herbs. Its origins have been traced back to Andalusia, Spain and may in fact be of Arab origin. It has been a standard throughout the caribbean and now I bring you this more wholesome version made with organic brown rice instead of the standard white short grain rice.

Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz Con Pollo ready to serve!

 

This dish is one of my favorites and is one of my comfort foods. I just love the flavor combinations of saffron, chicken, and the rice. I have found that this dish has more variations than any dish I have ever seen, so feel free to experiment with adding different vegetables, legumes, and herbs to create your own adaptation!

Arroz Con Pollo

  • 1 Whole Chicken cut up or any assorted chicken pieces.
  • 1 1/2 cups Organic Brown Rice
  • 3 cups organic free-range low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 sprig of fresh oregano
  • 1 pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Smoked Paprika aka pimenton (Not the hungarian paprika, this is different!)
  1. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and pimenton.
  2. Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan over medium heat.
  3. While you are warming up the stock, put the olive oil in a large sautee pan or large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. When the olive oil is hot, but not smoking, put the diced white onion a bit of salt and pepper, and cook until translucent and almost browned, about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and mix well to incorporate the oil. At this time, put in the saffron, oregano and cook for about 1 minute.
  6. Place the chicken in the rice without crowding each piece, kind of snuggle them up in the rice.
  7. Add the warm stock and bring to a boil, then cover, and reduce the heat to low.
  8. Cook for about 45-50 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is completely done.
  9. Serve with some lemon and lime wedges and maybe a nice Pinot Noir.

    Arroz Con Pollo

    Arroz Con Pollo