The Valencian region is well known for being the main rice-producing area in Spain. The Valencians are so proud of their high-quality rice that there is a Denomination of Origin for rice—a geographical stamp that protects local brands and varieties of quality agricultural products.
Although the paella is the most popular Valencian rice recipe, there are other rice options that are wonderful dishes to enjoy, and perhaps not as complicated to prepare if you are located anywhere in the world.
As a tradition, it was common to have it baked at local bakeries in coal ovens once a week. In small Valencian villages it’s still the case. But nowadays, it’s more frequent to bake it at home.
Arroz al horno, or baked rice, is one of our highly recommended mouth-watering rice recipes. We are pleased to share this simple-to-prepare rice delicatessen.
- 2-3 slices of thick bacon – “pancetta”
- ½ of sausages, cut in small pieces (optional – if not used, add slightly more to the other meat ingredients)
- 1/3 kg. morcilla, onion blood sausage, cut in thick slices
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 medium tomatoes – sliced
- ½ kg. rice
- 2 litres of beef broth (2 parts of rice, 5 of broth)
- 2 medium potatoes – peeled and sliced
- 1/3 kg. of chickpeas – garbanzo beans (cooked)
- Olive oil and salt
It’s traditionally baked in a clay or ceramic casserole; however, any oven dish can be used.
- Heat oven to 220º
- Pour a few tablespoons of olive into the casserole or a frying pan, on the stove.
- When it is hot enough, fry the pork, sausage slices, bacon and whole head of garlic.
- Add slices of one tomato and potatoes into the pan and stir until the mix is golden. Watch out with burning the ingredients. If cooking too fast, lower heat intensity.
- Pour the broth and sprinkle the chickpeas around the dish. Simmer for 10 minutes – cover pan (low heat to avoid excess of broth evaporation).
- If you are using a frying pan, change to the oven casserole.
- Add rice and stir. Make sure the mix homogeneous.
- Add the rest of the tomato in the dish, laying slices on top. Cover and bake the meal in the oven until golden brown and broth evaporated (approximately 20-25 minutes).
Note: The thinner the layer of rice, the better it cooks. Therefore, it’s better to use a wide dish than a deep one.