Arroz con Tocino (Rice With Salt Pork)
In Puerto Rico, rice is typically served at Thanksgiving. Arroz con gandules is standard, and this twist on classic white rice is also a favorite. Salt pork or bacon is sautéed until crisp, replacing the oil and salt that’s usually added to white rice and giving this staple a decidedly porky essence. While Puerto Ricans often use a lightweight aluminum pot or caldero for rice dishes, a large, light, nonstick saucepan with a lid is a good replacement. Salt pork can vary in saltiness and funk, so rinse well and pat dry with a clean towel before dicing, and adjust the salt to taste. Do not wash the rice before cooking as it will make the rice retain moisture and become mushy. This quick, easy side dish pairs well with saucy beans, greens and stewed meats any day of the week.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 5 ½ounces salt pork or bacon, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
- 1to 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2cups short grain rice or sushi rice
Step 1Heat a large saucepan with a lid over medium. Add salt pork or bacon, and cook, stirring often, for 7 to 10 minutes until browned and toasty, and a substantial amount of oil has released. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more until fragrant, then add rice and stir until the rice is evenly coated with fat and starts to turn opaque.
Step 2Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan or kettle.
Step 3Add the boiling water to the rice mixture and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered until liquid has almost completely evaporated and the surface of the rice is dotted with little bubbly volcanoes, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Step 4When there is no more liquid bubbling up from the holes, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 17 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, for at least 10 minutes. Taste to ensure rice is fully cooked, and let sit for 5 to 10 more minutes with the lid on if needed. Fluff with a fork, season with salt to taste and serve.