Baked Rice with Currants and Chickpeas (arroz al horno con pasas y garbanzos)
An inviting Spanish baked rice recipe which brings together risotto rice with juicy currants and the texture of chickpeas. Accompany with a roasted garlic clove.
In their splendid book The Heritage of Spanish Cooking (see page 435), Alicia Rios and Lourdes March say that in the Valencian mountain interior rice dishes are based on the broth of a cocido of boiled meats (page 303). In Spain today you can buy good cocido broth. If you cannot buy good beef or chicken stock, use stock cubes. Use a cazuela or a large shallow casserole that will go on the hob and in the oven. If you do not have one of these, start the dish in a deep saucepan, then transfer it to an oven dish. A head of garlic, the so-called ‘partridge’, is placed in the centre. Serve the rice with meatballs, or with fried pork ribs and sausages or blood sausages.
|200g||dried chickpeas, soaked in water for 6 hours or overnight|
|1||whole head of garlic, unpeeled|
|5 tbsp||olive oil|
|150g||currants or raisins, soaked in water for 30 minutes, then drained|
|1||large tomato (200g), peeled and chopped|
|1 tsp||pimentón dulce or sweet paprika|
|1.25l||meat or chicken stock (you may use 1½ stock cubes)|
|500g||medium-grain Spanish rice or risotto rice|
You will need a round baking dish about 36cm in diameter, ideally a Spanish cazuela (shallow clay cooking pot).
Drain the chickpeas. Put them in a pan with fresh water and simmer for 1 hour, until they are soft, adding some salt when they have already begun to soften.
Wash the head of garlic and dry it. Heat the oil in a cazuela or large pan. Put in the garlic and half the currants or raisins, and stir over a low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato and the pimentón or paprika and stir well. Then add the chickpeas, the stock and some salt. Bring to the boil, add the rice and stir well. If you are using a pan, pour everything into a round baking dish about 36cm in diameter.
Move the head of garlic to the centre of the rice and sprinkle the remaining currants or raisins over the top. Bake in an oven preheated to 200°C/gas 6 for 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender. When serving, give everyone a garlic clove for them to squeeze out the soft inside.