Friday, April 16, 2010

A great dish on the side or all by itself. Rice with Peas and Ham

Rice with Peas and Ham

If you’re like me, you get tired of the same old sides. Let’s see, we can have rice, dirty rice, potatoes (though I like the newly available fingerling potatoes we see in the stores), mashed potatoes. Every once in a while I make a pasta side like a risotto but that can be time consuming. This recipe, which is based on a recipe from a cookbook I had years ago, is a family favorite and a fun side for almost any grilled dish


Healthy splash of olive oil (not Extra Virgin)
4 tablespoons butter (divided)
1 large chopped yellow onion
1 ½ cups long grain rice
4 tablespoons sherry (buy a decent Sherry such as Drysack - I use “medium” rather than dry or sweet)
1 16 ounce packages thawed frozen peas (or whatever size you can find)
1 cup diced smoked ham (I have used canned - just fry it to dry it - and also smoked ham from the meat section. Both work fine)
3 cups hot chicken stock (note “hot.” Don’t use cold or your rice will turn out mushy and gross!)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan

In a heavy two quart saucepan with a tight fitting lid heat the oil and two tablespoons of butter. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until it is translucent. Add the sherry (to boil off alcohol – about 30 seconds). Add peas, ham 2 cups of the hot stock, salt, pepper. Cover and bring to a boil, then cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the remaining stock, recover and cook for 10 minutes longer, or until the rice is at the desired consistency. Mix in the cheese and serve.

I think this recipe came out of one of the Jeff Smith Frugal Gourmet Cookbooks, but to be honest I don’t know. I’ve been making it so long that I basically make it from memory. When Ang and I were younger we had this sometimes for dinner - all by itself. Whether you’re having guests or just looking for something easy and satisfying this dish works great. Enjoy!

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