Rice gets an extra dollop of richness from chick peas and bacon in this typical Spanish pilaf. Garbanzos, or chick peas, are so popular in Spain that packets of the dried beans are dated for freshness. As a general rule, beans that have been in your pantry longer than a year should be tossed out, since they will be too old and dried out. You know how we feel about combining starches. Yummmm!
- ½ pound dried chick peas, rinsed, picked over, and soaked at least 3 hours, or overnight (or use 3 cups canned chick peas, drained)
- 2 quarts water
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 ounces smoked slab bacon, rind removed, diced
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1½ cups long-grain white rice
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- 1½ teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Drain the soaked chick peas and combine with the water and bay leaf in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, about 2½ hours, until tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid, and discard the bay leaf. There should be 3 cups of liquid--add water if necessary.
Heat a large flameproof casserole over low heat and fry the bacon until lightly browned and just barely crisp. Increase the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the yellow pepper and garlic and cook 4 to 6 minutes more, until all the vegetables are softened.
Tip the pan and spoon off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the rice and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes, until well coated and Just beginning to brown. Add the sherry, the reserved 3 cups cooking liquid, the chick peas, salt, and pepper. Cook, covered, over medium heat, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand 10 minutes, covered.
Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
This recipe serves 8.