Monday, April 27, 2009

Gourmet Recession #2: Spinach & Rice

One of my favorites; created by my grandmother adapted from Trinidadian customs in that perfect way she does things. I was always confused as a child, because all of my colleagues (yeah right, children don't have colleagues) would shy away from spinach more than most greens/vegetables, leaving me to wonder why, because to me, spinach was one of the most looked-forward-to meals i had (and continue to have). Still to this day i try to convince people to make this at home, they don't get it. There's nothing in the words "Spinach & Rice" that sounds exciting, so i say: JUST TRY IT. Then you will understand.
The salt pork, i feel, is the real highlight and secret to why this is so spectacular, it gives it a savory quality that makes it constantly desirable. I've tried the same thing with bacon....the results are not the same. And i've compared minced garlic versus whole crushed garlic, and the whole garlic are little treasures that flavor the whole dish but when you bite into one it's such a reward. Also, the combination of spinach and white rice is unmatched. The spinach by itself could be boring (unless served as a side dish) but this is designed to be a main course (RE: Gourmet Recession).

Estimated Cost: $2-$3
Serves 2

Spinach & Rice
1.5 inches of salt pork (fat & meat: even portions); diced (not too small)
1/2 med. onion; sliced
2.5 garlic cloves (or 3 if you prefer)
1 pack of frozen chopped spinach (preferably defrosted the night before)
small amount of vegetable oil (just to barely coat bottom of pan)
black pepper (to taste)
salt (to taste)*

Heat vegetable oil over med. high heat
Add salt pork until dark red and fat has rendered a bit, while stirring
Add onions, continue stirring
Add garlic and black pepper, continue stirring
Cook until onions are sweating and garlic is golden
Add spinach and salt; stir to combine everything
Turn heat down to medium low and cook for at least 15 minutes so all the flavors mend and the spinach has cooked off most of it's moisture.
Taste, adjust seasonings.
Serve with white rice

*Keep in mind that the salt pork has a good amount of salt in it, so you won't need as much salt as you normally would when cooking spinach. Taste as you go, see how the flavors develop

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