Spanish Rice

Try not to think about the goopy tomato-y side dishes you’ve been served when you’ve been given a default order of a side of “rice ‘n’ beans” in some restaurants.

This dish is light and can be a spicy as you like it. Use fresh tomatoes to keep the taste fresh. If you have to use canned tomatoes, use diced and uncooked for the texture and taste you’re going to want.

1 chopped and seeded jalapeño
1 onion chopped fine
1 clove garlic
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano or marjoram
salt and pepper to taste
1 small can sliced black olives or ⅓ cup chopped pitted Greek olives
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1 ½ cups white rice
1 ½ cups water or broth
1 Tablespoons butter

In a sauté pan with a lid, sauté the onion in the olive oil. When the chopped onion begins to brown, add the jalapeño, garlic, spices, parsley (reserve a bit for sprinkling on top of the servings or the serving bowl), black olives and briefly sauté all together. Then add the rice, lightly browning and stirring a little in the pan, but being careful not to overcook the onions and chiles and olives.

Add the water or broth, stirring slightly until it begins to boil. Reduce heat, cover and let the rice cook for 30-45 minutes. Don’t stir this with anything but a fork and try not to stir it much at all. You’re going to want the rice to keep its shape and not get mushy.

Makes 8 half-cup side servings