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Rice with a Crust - Arroz con Costra

Rice with a Crust

This curious baked rice with an egg crust, which comes from Elche and Orihuela, is one of the oldest of the region. A remarkably similar recipe appears in the 14th century Libre del Coch, by Ruperto de Nola--whom some think was Valencian. In his recipe, it is cooked over direct heat, with ashes on the lid of the pan, a method that still survives in the countryside around Elche and Orihuela. But usually the dish is made in the oven.


Makes 4 servings.

Prep Time: 1 hr.

Cook Time: 1 hr.

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Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups Calasparra rice
1 teacup olive oil
9 oz chicken, cut into chunks
9 oz rabbit, cut into chunks
1 ripe tomato
1 - 1/4 quart white chicken stock or water
9 oz salchichas blood sausage and butifarra white sausage, thickly sliced
Pinch of saffron
2 oz chickpeas, soaked and cooked (optional)
12 eggs
Salt

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Preparation:

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof casserole, fry the chicken and rabbit, add the tomato and simmer slightly. Add the stock and let it boil for a few minutes until the meat is tender.

Spread the meat over the bottom of an ovenproof casserole; add the dry rice and saffron. Check the salting of the stock or water and pour it over the rice. Bake uncovered in a medium oven until the rice is almost dry.

Remove from the oven, and arrange the slices of sausages (raw of fried) over the top. Beat the eggs lightly with a little salt, pour them over the rice and put the casserole back into the oven for 8-10 minutes. This gives a rich, thick egg layer; if you want a thinner crust, use half the eggs.


The recipe comes from La Granaina, in Elche, run by Raúl Martínez Casares, and his sons Ramón and Pedro.
Recipe courtesy of Spain GourmeTour magazine.

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