Arroz bombeta has made a welcome comeback

Arroz bombeta has made a welcome comeback.

15-11-2021Marc Fosh

I always look forward to the start of winter, the nights are longer and the air is cold and crisp. Although it may feel like the least generous season for cooks, a barren and lean time of the year as we wait patiently for spring to arrive with all its rich bounty and brightly coloured ingredients to entice us back into the kitchen, winter provides us with so many amazing flavours.

Winter is the perfect time to indulge in old fashioned, heart-warming dishes designed to keep out the cold and revive flagging spirits and jaded palates during gloomy winter days.

When I’m cooking at home, I love to throw everything into one pot and place it in the middle of the table for serving. It not only saves on the washing-up, but it also helps to stimulate and heighten your senses so you can enjoy your meal even more.

Rice production in this area is still harvested in a traditional way

The Spanish of a great variety of one pot dishes called “potajes”. These are basically peasant, rustic recipes and each region throughout Spain has one or two specialties normally prepared with pulses such as lentils, beans or rice. Here in Mallorca, “Arroz Brut” is one of my favourites.

Literally translated as dirty rice, it’s a delicious broth cooked in an earthenware pot with rice, rabbit, pork, mushrooms, vegetables and a few snails thrown in for good measure, and it’s the perfect winter warmer. In its earlier incarnations, offal and blood were used to colour the rice but tomatoes and saffron are more popular these days.

It also features a local rice known as “Arroz bombeta” from the S’Albufera in the municipality of Sa Pobla. Rice production in this area is still harvested in a traditional way and it was first planted here in way back in 1800.

In the 50s and 60s of the 20th century, its production was almost abandoned, but happily in recent years arroz bombeta has made a welcome comeback.

Arroz brut: "Dirty rice" rustic mallorcan-style rice

Here in Mallorca, “Arroz Brut” is one of my favourites

My recipe is a simple version with rabbit, quail and butifarron but you can substitute with chicken, pork or game when in season. Add a few snails if you want it to be really authentic!

Serves 6

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Preparation time: 20 minutes

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 1/2 tsp ground
    a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 300g “arroz
    bombeta” rice or any short grain rice
  • 250g mixed wild mushrooms
  • 500g rabbit, cut into pieces
  • 2.5l chicken stock (bouillon)
  • 100g butifarron (black pudding), sliced
  • 150g fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black

1 Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and gently cook for about 2 minutes, without colouring.

2 Stir through the garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, tomatoes, paprika, cayenne pepper, saffron and cook for a further 2–3 minutes.

3 Add the wild mushrooms, rabbit, quails and chicken stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

4 Add the rice, peas, butifarron and simmer for a further 20 minutes.

5 Use a ladle to skim off any fat and impurities that rise to the surface during cooking.

6 Season with salt and pepper, add the chopped parsley and serve at the table.

Arroz caldoso de mariscos spanish-style seafood rice

Arroz caldoso de mariscos spanish-style seafood rice

In Spanish cookery you’ll find three different ways of cooking with rice. They are basically known as Arroz Caldoso, Meloso and seco. Arroz Caldoso is served with a spoon, as it is basically a broth type soup with rice.

It’s made by sautéing the main ingredient (anything from lobster, prawns, lamb, mushrooms etc.). The rice is then added and the broth. It’s boiled for about 15-17 minutes and served immediately. This recipe is a simple and delicious Spanish-style seafood rice.

Serves 4-6

  • 400g Arroz bomba (short grain rice)*
  • 1kl fresh mussels, cleaned
  • 300g Dublin bay prawns
  • 200g prawns, cooked and peeled
  • 300g fresh clams, cleaned
  • 300g cooked crab meat
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small squid, cleaned and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • A pinch of fresh
  • saffron
  • A pinch of paprika
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2litres fish stock
  • Seasoning

1 Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the Dublin bay prawns and fry until they start to colour.

2 Add the chopped onion and crushed garlic cloves and cook over a gentle flame for 1-2 minutes until the onions start to soften.

3 Add the rice, saffron and paprika. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cover with the fish stock.

4 Simmer over a gentle flame for about 10 minutes. Add the mussels, squid and clams.

5 Continue to simmer until the rice is just cooked.

Add the cooked prawns and crab meat, season to taste and serve.


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