Lots of people decide to give up something for Lent, whether it’s alcohol, fast food, chocolates or something else. Here in Spain, Arroz de Ayuno – known as fasting rice – is traditionally eaten during Lent. (La Cuaresma) Go native and do as the Spanish do and avoid eating meat during Lent. The great thing about this dish is that it has a great flavour, so you don’t actually miss having meat in the meal. Think paella without the chicken, pork or rabbit and you’ve got the idea.
Arroz de Ayuno is very economical, and when served with a salad and some fresh crusty bread, it makes a healthy and hearty meal. It’s fine for vegetarians, but it goes well as a side dish with roast lamb or pork, so it’s really versatile. I love rice in all its incarnations, and this is one of my favourites if I fancy a few meat free days.
For the best Arroz de Ayuno, use Valencia rice or risotto rice, as they soak up the cooking liquid better than other varieties. Try brown rice too, to ring the changes. Buen Provecho!
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
100 gr. rice
½ jar of cooked white beans
1 medium sized potato, chopped into 1/2 inch dice
1 stick celery, chopped
1 large tomato, grated
1 tbsp tomato frito (tomato puree)
2 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
½ an onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, grated
Pinch of Saffron
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp of freeze dried parsley, or a small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
300 ml vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat around a tablespoon of olive oil in a paella pan or any large, heavy bottomed frying pan.
Add the onion and bay leaf to the pan, and stir until the onion has softened.
Now add the grated tomato and potato and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continually so the potato doesn’t stick to the pan.
Add the rice and cook for a few minutes until the rice goes transparent, and then add the stock.
Add everything else except the hard boiled eggs, stirring to mix everything together.
Bring the mixture to the boil, then turn down the heat and allow it to simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Your Arroz de Ayuno is ready when the rice has absorbed all the liquid and the potatoes are cooked right through. If you think the mixture is a little dry, add more stock or a glass of white wine. The finished dish should be moist, like paella.
Sprinkle the chopped eggs over the rice and garnish with a little fresh or freeze dried parsley to serve.