September 27, 2007 at 7:56 a.m.
Historians generally agree that rice was brought to the United States in the late 1860s via Charleston, SC, probably by a ship captain carrying a few handfuls of rice seed, possibly from Madascar, but rice has been grown for centuries before the slave trade began. Because African slaves had been growing rice for generations back home, they also knew how to cook it and brought that tradition to the Carolina rice kitchens. However, Arkansas produces more rice than any other state.
Even what is thought of as a New Orleans creation, jambalaya was originally prepared by the Carolina rice kitchens. If you have never made it or tasted it, it's like a gumbo or a thick tomato/veggie/rice soup -- really good. It's a hearty soup to serve for a "soup" supper, along with a crusty bread and something yummy for dessert.
Long grain rice will be used in today's recipes. A little note about long grain rice at the end of the column.
1 lb. spicy Italian sausage
2 T. olive or canola oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced very fine
1 medium red or green bell pepper, diced
1 t. chopped fresh oregano (can use a few shakes of dried oregano leaves)
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1/2 c. sliced green onions
1-1/2 c. chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. cayenne pepper (ground or red pepper)
1 t. salt
freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 c. water or fish stock
1 c. long grain rice
2 lbs. small cooked shrimp, tails removed
Cut sausage into bite-sized chunks. Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add sausage and saute 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add next five ingredients. Saute, stirring 4-5 minutes longer. Add next five ingredients, stirring to combine. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in rice and simmer 40 minutes or until rice is just tender. Add shrimp to rice mixture and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until rice is soft and tender and jambalaya is creamy. Serves 6.
This is good supper dish to make when time is of the essence.
ONE DISH CHICKEN AND RICE BAKE
1 can cream of mushroom soup or 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup
1 c. water*
3/4 c. uncooked long grain rice
1/4 t. paprika
1/4 t. pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, lightly browned in a skillet with 1-2 T. butter
In a 2 qt. shallow baking dish, mix soup, water, rice, paprika and pepper. Place browned chicken on top of rice mixture. Cover, bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until chicken and rice are tender. Serves 4.
*For creamier rice add 1-1/3 c. water.
SPANISH RICE 'N BEEF
1 lb. ground beef
1 T. butter or margarine
1 c. diced onion
1 medium green pepper, diced
1/4 c. diced celery
2 c. stewed tomatoes (15 oz. can, undrained)
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
3 c. hot cooked long grain rice (3/4 c. uncooked)
snipped fresh parsley (optional)
In large skillet, brown beef in butter; add onions, green pepper and celery; simmer until celery and green pepper are almost tender, 8-10 minutes. Add tomatoes, seasoning and rice; stir to combine.
Turn into 4 qt. casserole. Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes. Garnish with parsley. Serves 6-8.
This rice mixture is great to have on hand when you want something other than potatoes with your meal.
HERBED RICE MIX
1-3 lb. pkg. long grain rice
2 c. dried celery flakes
2/3 c. dried minced onion
1/2 c. dried parsley flakes
2 T. dried chives
1 T. dried tarragon leaves
1 T. salt
2 t. pepper
1-1/3 c. water
1-2 t. butter or margarine
In a large bowl, combine all "mix" ingredients; mix well. Store in airtight container or heavy plastic zipper bag (like a gallon-size freezer bag). Makes 20 batches (10 cups total).
To prepare two servings of rice:
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring water and butter to a boil. Add 1/2 c. rice mixture. Lower heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Makes 2 servings per batch.
A note on the difference and uses of medium grain and long grain rice:
Medium or short-grain rice is the least expensive of the two. It cooks moist and tender and is a good choice to use in casseroles and puddings.
Long-grain rice costs a few pennies more a pound and cooks fluffier and is preferred for serving as a side-dish.
One cup of uncooked long-grain equals 4 cups cooked and serves 4-6.
One cup uncooked medium-grain equals 3 cups cooked and serves 3-4.
Thought for the day: Don't tell your friends about your "indigestion." "How are you" is a greeting, not a question.