Arroz al horno con pasas y garbanzos / arròs al forn amb panses i cigrons (oven baked raisin and chickpea rice)

Oven-baked chickpeas and raisins rice (arròs amb cigrons i panses)

This is one of the most surprising Valencian dishes I’ve learned about recently.

It uses just a few humble ingredients to deliver way more flavour than you could possibly expect. And it uses a sweet ingredient (raisins) on a savoury dish—not a typical feature of dishes that side of the world!

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Arròs de mescleta (“mixed” rice)

Arròs de mescleta, close up

I got a bunch of broad beans (the ones you have to pop out of their shells) in the veggie box delivery this week, but since the weather has turned a bit cooler, I didn’t want to make them into a salad. So I first used half of them in an omelette. What else could I use them for?

Well, clearly: a rice that combines various types of legumes—hence the ‘mixed’ in the title!

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Plato de verano (“Summer’s dish”)

Plato de verano (Summer's dish)

When it gets hot in Spain we avoid eating hot food and turn our attention towards things that are eaten cold. You might have heard about gazpacho or salmorejo!

Then there is the “plato de verano”, which literally means “summer’s dish”. It’s not a unique recipe, but a way of describing “something somewhat substantial that you eat cold”. It depends on the cook and whatever is available on the day.

My recipe provides a good balance between sharpness, oiliness, savouriness, softness and crunchiness so that it’s a pleasant and refreshing thing to eat, but without having to bite too much (too much effort if it’s very hot).

¡Buen provecho!

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Pimientos rellenos / bajoques farcides (stuffed peppers)

Stuffing the pepper with the rice mix

I absolutely adore stuffed peppers—if Proust had madeleines, I have stuffed peppers.

It’s smelling them and instantly thinking of sunny Sundays and visiting grandparents; chasing the faint scent of the roasted skins all the way from the ground floor through three flights of stairs, across the long corridor leading to the kitchen, and then finally (finally!) digging into the strongly flavoured rice while sitting on a pile of cushions on a chair that was way too low for me… Yummmm!

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