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A traditional recipe by Deborah Piña
Arroz meloso de Alcachofas y Sobrassada
By Deborah Piña
There is no clear translation for arroz meloso in English. But I would call it “creamy rice”, opposed to arroz seco - dry rice, as paella or rice soup, like arroz caldoso. It all depends on the proportion of water or broth you use to cook the rice with. In Spain you find 3 major elaborations:
Arroces secos - dry rices - proportion 1 rice - 2,25 liquid
Arroces melosos - creamy rices - proportion 1 rice - 3 liquid
Arroces caldosos - soupy rices - proportion 1 rice to 4 liquid
You don’t want the grain to release the starch in dry rices whereas in melosos and caldosos the starch gives texture to the broth. This is why you never stir the rice in the paella once you have added the broth. Meloso is a well cooked rice but there is still some broth remaining and it has a creamy consistency. You can eat it both with a fork or a spoon. Maybe meloso rice is the Spanish risotto?
This recipe with artichokes and sobrassada is a must in Mallorcan Fall and Winter gastronomy. It is a peasant warm dish, made with simple yet delicious ingredients, comfort food.
Sobrassada is in Mallorca, the most typical culinary product. It is made with selected minced pork meat and seasoned with paprika, salt and pepper and then put through a curing process. The pebre bord, the local paprika not only gives sobrassada its beautiful orange color but also acts as a preserver. Sobrassada can be eaten raw, usually spread on bread, but also offers countless uses in recipes, especially in stews, acting like a natural flavor booster and coloring.
I always cook this recipe with a clay pot, if you can find yourself one, it fits better the essence of the dish, otherwise you can cook it in a regular pot.
Ingredients for 8 pax
1.10 lbs of rice - round variety (Bomba, Senia, Arborio…)
3 garlic cloves
5 ramallet tomatoes or 3 medium ripe tomatoes
7 oz Sobrassada
water 1,5 qts
salt & pepper
olive oil extra virgin
First of all - a simple and effective mise en plaçe -
Peel and cut the artichokes into slices, not too thin or thick. Leave them in water with lemon to prevent them from rusting.
Chop the butifarron in small cubes, set aside. Grate the tomatoes to get a natural tomato purée. Slice the onion and peel the garlic. Take out the skin of the sobrassada. Measure rice and water.
Add some olive oil to the pot, cook the onion and the garlic until soft. Then add tomatoes purée, stir well. Cook until color has changed from vivid red to brownish. Don’t hurry up in this step, it is the base of the dish. Add the sobrassada in pieces. Continue stiring until well dissolved. Add the water. Season with salt and pepper. Once the broth is boiling, add the rice and 5 minutes after the artichokes and the butifarron. This should be done on medium fire. Correct the seasoning. After 13-15 minutes approx the rice should be cooked, but give it a try before to make sure. Serve immediately! Bon profit!
Photography by Jessie Webster and Deepi Ahluwalia
during our first Mediterranean Retreat in Mallorca, October 2017.