A few days ago Roy, Jennifer, and I returned from visiting Allison in Spain. We traveled all over, but ended out trip on the Island of Ibiza, where Allison teaches English. She also has a job as an au pair for an eight year old girl and lives with the family, Apparently, Ibiza is a wild party place, but since Allison has only been there during the off season, she hasn't seen the hedonistic side to it yet. What I saw was its gorgeous raw beauty. It's very rocky and cactus and palms grow right beside pine trees. We took a few hikes on paths that led to breathtaking views of the ocean. The color of the water was amazing! On one of our hiking days, the weather was cold and overcast. When we returned to the house, the mother was making a traditional Spanish dish called Arroz de matanzas. It translates as "rice killings" and was served after a pig was slaughtered to those who had helped throughout the process. Originally it was made with fresh pork, but the recipes I found on the internet included sausage and chicken. Basically, it's rice, mushrooms, and meat surrounded by a savory broth seasoned with saffron and a hint of Jamaican like spices such as allspice and nutmeg. As I watched it being made, it struck me that it would be a great way to use up meat such as a left over pork chop, a lonely chicken leg, or a bit of sausage. I translated a couple recipes and even found one in English. What I have posted here, is a combination of the three of them. In this "Americanized" version, dinner could be made fairly quickly and either leftovers or fresh meat could be used. Crusty bread and a green salad is great with this.
Above is how my version looks...
This is the "real deal" which the lady of the house, was kind enough to share with us after a morning of hiking on a chilly spring day in Ibiza.
Ingredients for Four to Six Servings:
*Chicken, pork, and/or sausage to yield 3 cups of meat 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 large tomato, diced 1 medium bell pepper, red or green, chopped 1 small package of mushrooms, wild is nice, sliced 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 2 garlic cloves, put through a press or minced 1 clove garlic, put through a press or minced 8 cups of chicken broth 1/4 teaspoon thyme 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1/8 teaspoon saffron **pinch nutmeg **pinch cinnamon **pinch clove **pinch allspice 2 cups uncooked rice - I used arborio
*The meat could be left overs such as a pork chop/chicken/sausage or fresh and still on the bone.
** Roy calls these "dark spices" and he doesn't really care for them. Leave them out for a more Americanized palate. I think if the "dark spices" were left out and 3/4 cup of white wine was put in with the broth, this would be scrumptious!
1. (Skip this step if using left over meat that is already cooked.) If fresh meat is being used, put the olive oil in a skillet and turn the heat to medium/low. Brown both sides of the meat. Take the meat out of the skillet and set it aside for a moment.
2. (This is first step if using left over meat that has already been cooked.) In the same pan that the meat was browned, add the tomato, pepper,and mushrooms (and olive oil if this is step one). Saute for about 5 to 7 minutes until tender. Then add 2 cloves of minced garlic and saute another 30 seconds. Add the meat, broth, and pepper, thyme, saffron (and dark spices if using) to the pan and bring to a boil. Allow it to boil for 15 minutes.
3. Add the rice to the pot and boil for 15 minutes. It doesn't look like a lot of rice in the beginning, but it will absorb quite a large amount of the liquid as it cooks. During the last 5 minutes, add parsley and the extra clove of minced garlic. (The traditional recipe calls for a cooked chicken liver to be made into a paste and added at this point - perhaps to thicken it up? I skipped this step since I felt the soup was thick enough and I'm not a chicken liver fan!)