Receta Arroz Negro – Easy Mexican Rice Recipe
If you are not familiar with this ingredient yet, huitlacoche is a fungus, which grows on corn. You may perhaps have heard it mentioned before as Corn Smut, the name by which it is known in the United States and Canada. However, smut is such an ugly word, is it not? As it happens, its name comes from the Nahuatl language, where it also has a less than appetizing connotation; efforts have been made by US restaurants to call the fungus “Mexican truffles”, but no matter what you want to call it, this fungus is simply too good to pass up.
Huitlacoche has a mild but pleasantly earthy, woody flavor not unlike portabella mushrooms, but with some subtle notes of sweetness from the corn which it grows on. If you are lucky, you may be able to find fresh huitlacoche at farmer’s markets or an especially well stocked Mexican grocery, but canned huitlacoche is available at most Mexican markets as well.
This recipe features the fungus in the starring role to create a rice dish, which makes a great lunch or light dinner along with some mixed grilled vegetables. This dish is also sometimes called Arroz Negro (black rice) because of the color the huitlacoche imparts to the dish.
The rice is sautéed in oil with some oil with vegetables, which is often the way to begin Mexican rice and other rice-based main dishes and side dishes. The huitlacoche goes into the pan next, along with the broth, and then you can simply let the mixture simmer until it is done. You will be able to see when it is ready because the liquid will be absorbed.
Taste a couple of grains of rice to ensure it is cooked properly. The black color of this makes it a very unusual side dish, and a colorful one especially if you serve it with light-colored chicken, shrimp or fish. It certainly adds some interest to the plate, as well as making a change from white rice or tortillas.
- 1 cup long grain white rice (brown is fine too, simply allow for more cooking time)
- 2 cups vegetable broth (canned or homemade)
- 1 small white onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
- 4 oz huitlacoche (about half of a 7.6 ounce can)
- 1 Serrano pepper, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- ¼ cup peeled shrimp (optional)
- Note: This recipe is best when you can keep the grains of rice well separated, something which can be done by allowing the rice to soak for 15 minutes, then rinsed to rinse away much of its gluten content and laid out on a tray to dry for about 45 minutes.
- You can omit this step if you would rather save some time (or want a dish akin to a Mexican variation on risotto), but traditionally the rice is rinsed. If you are using brown rice, you can also skip this step.
- Start by sautéing the onion, garlic, peppers and rice over medium heat in a skillet, stirring frequently. Cook until the rice begins to turn golden and the onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the huitlacoche and allow to cook for another minute or so to allow the juices the huitlacoche releases to reduce.
- Add broth, reduce heat, and cover the rice.
- Simmer for about 15 minutes (about 30-35 for brown rice) or until the broth has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
- A few minutes before the end of cooking, you might like to add some shrimp to the mixture. Raw shrimp will take a couple of minutes to cook (you will see them change from gray to pink) but cooked ones just need to warm up for 30 seconds or so. Don't overcook them else they will toughen.
- Serve this dish at once and prepare to enjoy something which is both a little different and absolutely wonderful.
This easy Mexican rice recipe is black because of the huitlacoche but it is glossy and looks appealing. The color just makes it look exotic and unusual. Black risotto and black paella (made using squid ink) are popular in parts of Spain and Italy and the black tint does not put anyone off trying this delicious feast. This black rice recipe or receta arroz negro is not difficult to make and if you like trying new ingredients to make exciting authentic Mexican recipes, this easy Mexican rice is something that might appeal to all your senses. We like to add shrimp for color but you can omit the shrimp and serve this side dish with chicken or similar, if you prefer.
Picture, recipes and/or content upgraded and edited: 03-31-16
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