This post is about a classic Valencian dish and the accompaniments we had for our Saturday lunch this week.
Agriculturally Valencia is the orange producing area of Spain but there is another crop which is important in this Mediterranean region and is often overlooked. I not sure why this is but it is. I am talking about rice.Some of you will already know this but Valencia is a huge producer of rice, although behind Sevilla and Extremadura in volume produced . Spain produces about 750,000 tons a year, of which nearly two thirds is exported.
Short grain rice:Valencia rice
|Famous La Fallera rice|
In Valencia the rice is produced in the Albufera(a fresh water lake very close to the coast) area, where the paddy fields are flooded and produce a variety of rice which has a Denomination of Origin.
|Garlic:used whole in this recipe|
Introduced by the Moors, rice quickly became part of the staple diet in Valencia. Paella became the principal and most famous dish to come from Vaelncia and has many different forms. But today I am going to talk about another delicious local dish which is also made from rice: “Arroz al Horno” (Rice baked in the oven).
This recipe is a classic in the region and much loved.There are various cooking competitions in the region to find where the best cooked dish comes from.Just recently Xativa celebrated its annual “Concurso Nacional de Arroz al Horno” which draws three thousand memebrs of the public to try the delights. Prestigious restaurants from all over Valencia battle to show their skills at producing the best “Arroz al Horno”.
The ingredients are pretty simple: rice,pork ribs,pork belly,black pudding,chick peas,chick peas and saffron. These ingredients vary from town to town and viallge to village e.g. some people put lsices of tomato and potato on the top of the dish. The result is an exceptionally tasty meal.
So to sum up we had:
Two cheese tapas to start with:
Blue cheese with tomato jam on rosemary crackers and Manchego with Spicy Tomato chutney
Drinks: beer and an excellent white wine: “Rexiu” white wine from Bodega Heretat de Taverners.
The “Arroz al Horno” served with Salad and a very interesting red “Paquito El Chocolatero” from Celler La Muntanya.
Followed by Strawberries in freshly squeezed orange juice.