Friday, January 21, 2011

Arroz Atollado (Messy Rice)

Arroz Atollado is one of the signature dishes from the Valle del Cauca region. The best is cooked over open fires at farm- like restaurants outside the city of Cali. It is an Andean version of the Italian Risotto made with pork and sometimes with chicken or both and potatoes, full of flavors and very filling; it makes a complete meal on a dish.

Ingredients for 6 servings


6 cups water
2 pounds pork leg meat, skin included cut in 2 inches dices
1 onion halved
2 smashed cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 bay leaves


1 ½ cup long-grain white rice (patna)
3 medium white potatoes cut in 1 inch dice with the skin on
3  chorizos or Italian mild sausages
½ cup minced scallion
½ cup minced onion
1 cup finely diced tomato
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
2 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon turmeric or sazon Goya
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
A pinch chilli flakes (optional)
1 beef bouillon cube
½ cup minced cilantro (stems included)
2 teaspoons salt
Pepper to taste

Place the pork in a pressure cooker, with all the ingredients for the stock and cook for 25 minutes over medium heat. Remove from the stove, release the pressure and open.

Remove the meat and set aside. Strain the stock and keep to cook the rice.

On a big  braiser or a cast iron  pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Fry the sausage sliced ½ inch thick for 3 minutes or until light brown. Remove and set aside.

In the oil and fat released by the sausages, cook the scallions, onion and garlic until transparent. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beef bouillon, salt, cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika, chili flakes, and pepper. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes stirring often, add a little of the stock if it gets too dry and add the cilantro.

Add the rice in the center of the braiser and mix well with the sauce cooking for 3 minutes. Add the 6 cups stock, the pork, the sausages and the diced potatoes. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until the rice plump up.

Cover the pot and cook for another 5- 10 minutes, the rice has to be very soft, and not too dry with a creamy consistency.

Sprinkle with minced cilantro or fresh cheese. Serve hot.