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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Locrio de costillitas - Dominican rice with spare rib tips

Yum, yum, yum!! Locrio is one of my favorite Dominican dishes. It is a red rice cooked with some sort of meat (chicken, spare rib tips, longaniza (a type of sausage), or even spicy sardines (pica pica)). It's always very flavorful and delicious! I didn't have much cubanelle pepper around (the sweet pepper that is typically used), so I used two small serranos (about 2 teaspoons - 1 TB, depending on how much spiciness you like) and about 1 teaspoon cubanelle pepper. This dish is not normally spicy, so if you have to go to the store anyway, you can make the choice to make it spicy or not. Use a whole cubanelle if you make it the traditional way. I hope you all enjoy this dish as much as I do!

3 cloves of garlic (two is fine if they are the gigantic cloves I've been seeing lately)
1 onion chopped
1 TB + 1 tsp tomato paste (sauce is NOT a substitute)
1 stalk of cilantro (chopped)
1 stalk of parsley (chopped)
1 teaspoon celery leaf (if available) (chopped)
a pinch of dried oregano
adobo (there are different Goya Adobo varities, but use the one with the blue top)
Baldom Dominican sazon (if available, otherwise, use more adobo)
crushed black pepper to taste (probably about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 TB salt
1lb to 1.5 lbs spare rib tips (cut into pieces with 1-2 of the small vertical bone pieces each - as close to equal size pieces as possible)
2 cups of long grain white rice
3.5 cups water

This method of cooking rice produces a nice layer of crispier rice on the bottm (this is the intended result. In Dominican cooking, it is prepared in a nonstick pan to get a crispier rice on the bottom. As most Americans are not accustomed to this (although I really enjoy it), you may want to make an effort to prepare it in a nonstick pan the first time to see how you like that first. When cooked in a nonstick pan, this crispier layer (referred to as "concon" in Spanish - the most desirable part of the rice in Dominican cooking) acquires a tasty, lightly nutty flavor.

To place the cooked rice in serving dishes. Spoon the softer rice off (without scraping off the crispy rice) and place in one bowl. Spoon off the bottom layer of crispier rice and place in a separate smaller bowl.

Season each piece of the spare rib tips with generously with salt, Dominican sazon, adobo, and dried oregano. Set aside. wash and drain rice (move it around with your hand in a large bowl of water until water becomes white). Season dry rice with about 2 teaspoons to one TB adobo and the 1/2 TB salt in the list of ingredients. set aside.

Place the garlic and onions (not the herbs yet) in a skillet (the one you want to cook the rice in) with about 1/2 TB - 1TB extra virgin olive oil until they are translucent.

Toward the end of the process, add in the tomato paste and sautee mixture with it for about 1 min, along with oregano and fresh herbs.

Once the vegetables are done sauteeing, turn the heat up to medium and add the ribs, being sure to cover them well in the adobo mixture as you cook them.

Let the meat brown on all sides. Add enough water to cover bottom of pan, cover pot well and let it cook for a few minutes to lightly stew meat. Once water evaporates, add rice and add 3.5 cups water.

Cook rice (UNCOVERED) over medium to medium high heat (the least it takes to get a boil), stirring CONSTANTLY. Continue stirring until all of the water evaporates.

Once the water has evaporated, spread rice and meat evenly over bottom of pan. Cover tightly and take temperature down to low.

Let the rice cook on low for exactly 20 min (do NOT check the rice or remove the top for any reason). Remove from heat.

Let the rice sit for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!

Most people like to enjoy this dish with a splash of fresh lime juice and sliced avocado on the side, but of course it's delicious just as it is!


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