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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Arroz Tita (Costa Rican Rice Casserole)

Servings: 6

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

1/2 medium Onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup celery stalk, diced
1/2 cup carrot, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound kielbasa sausage* (see NOTE below about chicken or shrimp)
1/2 teaspoon paprika, ground
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped fine
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoning Salt
1/8 teaspoon oregano, crushed
10 ounces RoTel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chiles, canned (If Ro-Tel is not available, use a finely diced large tomato with all it's juice and dice up a couple of mild to medium hot chili peppers.)
2 1/3 cups water
2 cups long-grain white rice

Using a heavy 4 quart pot, saute garlic onion, peppers, celery and carrots in olive oil until onions and celery are clear. In a separate container bring the water and RoTel diced tomatoes & green chiles together to boil. ( I use a large, one quart, measuring cup in the microwave, set on high for 5 minutes.)

Add rice to sauteed vegetables and continue to saute on medium heat until the rice is very hot and crackling. About 2-3 minutes. DO NOT LET THE RICE TOAST

Add the meat, seasoning salt, oregano and cilantro and liquid. Quickly bring pot to a full boil and cover tightly for 25 minutes on low simmer. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID AT ANY TIME.

Turn off the heat, leave the pot stand on the burner for 15-20 minutes. DO NOT REMOVE THE COVER.

NOTE: Kielbasa needs to be sliced about a 1/4" thick. The Kielbasa sausage can be subsituted for a pound of cooked chicken or cooked shrimp. Chicken needs to be cubed in bite size chunks and added with the liquid. Shrimp must be headed peeled and precooked. The stock from the shrimp can be substituted for the water. You can keep the shimp tender by not adding it until the rice has completely finished cooking and cooled for 20 minutes.There should be enough liquid to come up about 1/2" to 3/4" over the level rice when it begins to boil. All of the vegetables and meats are optional. If you leave the them out, use a little less water.

"This Recipe evolved from several different rice & meat casseroles I used to make while living in Costa Rica"

Originally posted 2/2/07

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