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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ink-Black Rice

Menu Note: This is one of the dishes on Christmas Menu 2011.

The Ingredients (for 6 to 8 servings):
  • 50 ml (or ¼ cup) of olive oil
  • 125 g (or 4 oz) of squid rings
  • 6 baby bell peppers, preferably different colors
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 300 g (or 1½ cup) of brown basmati rice
  • 15 g (or 1 Tbsp) of squid ink
  • 60 ml (or ¼ cup) of white wine
  • 225 ml (or 1 cup) of clam broth
  • 225 ml (or 1 cup) of chicken broth
  • 225 ml (or 1 cup) of water

The Method:

  1. Cut the bell peppers into rings that match the squid rings in diameter and thickness.
  2. Sautée the squid rings and bell peppers together in a small amount of the olive oil at medium-high heat, removing them when the squid has become opaque.
  3. Set the rings aside for later addition and decoration.
  4. Chop the onions and garlic into small dice.
  5. Sautée the onions and garlic in the rest of the oil over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
  6. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the rice. Stir the rice constantly until every grain is coated with oil and there is a toasty smell coming from the rice.
  7. Immediately add the clam broth and allow it to boil gently.
  8. Stir the squid ink into the wine, then add the mixture to the chicken broth and water.
  9. Pour the squid ink mixture into the cooking pan, bring to a boil, turn the heat to low and cover the pan.
  10. Simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes.
  11. Add some of the squid and bell pepper to the hot rice and use the rest to decorate the finished dish.

The Story:
Of the different paellas that we tasted in Spain the black paella, or arroz negro, that we tasted in the Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid was the most satisfying and, at the same time, exotic. I resolved at once to try and reproduce it at home, using brown rice because of its lower glycemic index than white. I looked at several different recipes on the internet. The recipe above is closest to one published in Gourmet Traveller. We enjoyed this dish as part of our Christmas dinner; we enjoyed the leftovers gently reheated in the microwave for the next couple of days; and my husband has had exemplary fasting blood sugars all week.

In case anyone is planning to spend some time in Madrid, Mercado de San Miguel is just outside the famous Plaza Mayor. Once we discovered it we kept going back for more and more treats and tapas.
Squid-ink paella at Mercado de San Miguel

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