Is this Brazilian dish, called Greek Rice, really Greek? Got me! All I know is that it was a well-loved dish growing up. And I always had it paired with Greek Shrimp Skewers (Camarão a grega).
I first remember having Greek rice when my dad accepted a job that took us back to Brazil from SE Iowa when I was 10. While my parents were house hunting, Dad’s company put us up in a hotel in downtown Curitiba called Hotel Colonial. I doubt that it is around anymore, but at the time, although it was not the ritziest of the hotels in town, it was definitely a nice place. The restaurant was on the top floor, with tuxedoed waiters, excellent food, and amazing service. And though I don’t remember exactly how long we were there, I know it was more than two months. So, it was long enough for the wait staff to know us by name and to spoil my older sister and younger brother and I when we would sometimes go up to dinner unaccompanied.
But I digress…The reason I brought up Hotel Colonial is because that’s where I remember having Greek rice for the first time, served with Greek Shrimp Skewers and fried shoestring potatoes. I love those memories!
Greek rice is a savory dish, with several layers of flavor, and with a contrasting sweetness from raisins. It is SO easy to make and pairs as a side dish with just about anything you want it to complement.
Let’s see what goes into Greek Rice
Please don’t omit any of these ingredients, unless you just won’t eat them. They each play a vital role in the final flavor profile. In other words, they were made for each other…at least in Greek rice. The tang of the peppers, the sweetness of the raisins, the buttery peas, and the flavor and texture of the carrots always make me happy. I’d love to meet whoever came up with this recipe and give him or her a great big hug!
You can substitute chicken bouillon to make your own broth, or use chicken stock. All work well without significantly changing the dish.
Let’s look at the steps to assemble Greek rice
Start by chopping your onions and carrots and dicing your peppers and garlic.
Next, sauté your veggies in the olive oil, just until the onions become opaque.
Then add the rice and cook it for about a minute, stirring frequently.
Finally, add the broth, and bring it to a boil. At this point, add your salt to taste. Then, cover, reduce the flame, and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is loose and tender. About 20 minutes.
Halfway through the cooking, add the raisins and the peas to the rice. Stir to distribute and cover to finish cooking.
You need to wait to add these because both are a little more delicate. If you add them at the beginning, the peas become dull and mushy. And the raisins can bloat in the cooking liquid and lose some of their concentrated sweetness, making the savory elements sweet too. You want a more distinct separation between savory and sweet.
When done, transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot.
Come on, everyone. Isn’t this beautiful? It tastes as good as it looks. And like I said, although it will go great with steak, or chicken, or fish, my child’s heart loves it with Greek Shrimp Skewers!
I’d love to hear what you pair it with!
Greek Rice - Arroz a Grega
- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 2 cups chicken broth or stock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup onion chopped
- 1 medium garlic clove diced
- 3 tablespoons chopped carrots
- 2 boxes raisins 1 ounce each
- 3 tablespoons frozen peas thawed
- 3 tablespoons diced sweet peppers diced
- Start by chopping the carrots and onions and dicing the peppers and garlic.
- Heat a pan on medium and add the olive oil,
- Add the chopped and diced items and sauté just until the onion is opaque.
- Add the rice and cook for about a minute.
- Then add the chicken broth.
- Add salt to taste at this point.
- Then bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low.
- Cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is loose and tender, about 20 minutes.
- Halfway through the cooking process, add the raisins and peas.
- Stir to distribute, then cover and continue cooking the rice.
- Serve hot.