Arroz con Tocino (Puerto Rican Rice with Salt Pork)

Recaito is a seasoning paste made of cilantro and Mexican coriander commonly used in Hispanic Caribbean cooking. You can find it in the Hispanic section of your supermarket.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 pound salt pork, or thick cut bacon, diced
  • 1 cup white onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon recaito seasoning base
  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cilantro, to garnish

To Serve:

  • 1 large egg per serving, if desired

Method

1 Rinse the rice: In a fine mesh colander or strainer, rinse the rice under cold running water until the water runs clear. This step eliminates additional starch which may cause the rice to become gummy. Set the colander aside and allow the rice to drain thoroughly.

Puerto Rican Rice with Bacon rinse the rice

2 Blanch the pork: Place the pork in simmering water for 15 minutes. After cooking, rinse off the pork and allow it to cool before proceeding. (If you're using bacon, you can skip this step.)

3 Render the fat from the pork: In a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, render the fat from the diced pork over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Remove the pork pieces from the pot using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Puerto Rican Rice with Pork render the pork

4 Cook the onions, garlic, and recaito. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of pork fat from the pot. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes, or until glossy. Add the minced garlic and recaito to the onions, and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.

Puerto Rican Rice with Bacon cook the onions, garlic, recaito

5 Combine the rice, onion and pepper. Add the drained rice to the pot and stir to combine the rice and onion mixture and to coat the rice with the fat. Continue to stir, toasting the rice for about a minute. Add the water and pepper, then bring to a boil.

Steamed Rice with Pork add the drained rice to the pot Steamed Rice with Salt Pork bring the rice to a boil

6 Steam the rice. Once the water has started boiling, reduce the heat to low. Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pot. Make sure the foil has about 2” in overhang. Place the lid onto the pot and press down. This addition of foil creates a more air-tight seal which helps to steam the rice perfectly.

Cook the rice for twenty minutes without removing the lid. Remove the lid and check that the rice is done; recover and continue to steam if needed. Once the rice has cooked fully, remove the lid and fluff with a spoon or a large fork.

Steamed Rice with Bacon steam the rice Puerto Rican Rice with Bacon fluff the steamed rice

7 Combine the pork, rice and cilantro. Fold the reserved pieces of pork in the cooked rice and garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Puerto Rican Rice with Bacon combine the pork and rice

8 Top with a fried egg. When ready to serve, fry an egg in your preferred style (I like mine sunny-side up) and serve atop a heaping portion of the rice.

Steamed Rice with Pork top with a fried egg