Lemon-Drenched Rice, Ham, Artichokes & Roasted Red Pepper
February 23, 2012
Aunt Suzy says . . . .
This is a fast, easy and delicious meal-in-a-bowl that I learned in my early 20’s. I lived in New York City at the time and was taught this dish by a friend whose husband was originally from Spain. My friend, who called this Pisto, learned it from her mother-in-law. You might note I’m not calling it this, which is because I’ve understood since that Pisto usually refers to the Spanish version of ratatouille. Although, I just looked up Pisto to find in the Spanish dictionary that it cites a secondary definition as “hodgepodge”, which could be used to describe this dish. Whatever it’s called, I’ve been making and loving this all my adult life. I had not made it recently, but was reminded about it by my brother John, who cooked it last week. It’s a dish that once I’ve got it in front of me, I can’t get enough of. I hope you enjoy the unusual blending of flavors in this hodgepodge of rice, artichokes, roasted red peppers and a healthy dose of garlic – all drenched in lemon. And as Randy said − “great mouth appeal”. Serve with a salad with lemon-olive oil dressing and a nice lemony Sauvignon Blanc or Albarino.
This recipe serves 6 and can be cut in half
2 cups white or brown rice
3 1/2 cups water or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 15-ounce cans artichoke hearts (NOT marinated), 10-11 medium
1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, about 2 large
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 8-ounce ham slice, diced
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 lemons, either Meyer or Eureka
Place the rice and liquid in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer till done. (White rice about 20 minutes, brown rice about 40 minutes)
Meanwhile, cut the artichoke hearts in quarters. Cut the roasted peppers in 1 x 1/2-inch strips. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. When just starting to bubble, add the garlic and stir for a minute. Add the artichokes and roasted red pepper. Turn heat down to medium low and simmer until the rice is done.
Meanwhile, in a small saute pan, heat the olive oil till shimmering. Add the ham pieces and saute on medium high heat for 5 or so minutes until it starts to brown. Add the ham to the artichoke mixture and stir to blend.
When the rice is done, place in a large bowl, add the artichoke-ham mixture and stir to thoroughly blend all together. Serve with lemon wedges. People can squeeze juice from 1-2 wedges over their individual servings.
NOTES ON INGREDIENTS: I almost always make this with brown rice, but white is good and quicker if pressed for time. I almost always use chicken stock or part stock/part water for a richer taste. Look for smoked ham with the least amount of sugar and definitely not one where maple syrup has been used in the curing. I prefer Meyer lemons, but regular Eureka lemons are delicious as well. I learned to make this with butter (even more than I called for!), but I think olive oil could be substituted.