One Monday last month, by some miracle I finished work at four o’clock. I was so excited I shot out of the building and was home by quarter past five. The earliest for me for sometime. I was therefore a little more inspired to cook something different for dinner. Cooking dinner on weekday evenings are always a challenge because normally I get home after seven and I am rarely in the mood to cook something innovative outside of the usual pasta and salad staples. On this evening I decided to look again to my Nigerian roots for inspiration. I settled on jollof rice, another staple but this time of my childhood, and in adulthood had now become a delicious treat because I make and eat it so rarely.
Jollof rice is a West African dish with the basic ingredients being rice (of course), tomato sauce and spices. Variations will include the addition of meats (beef or chicken), it can be eaten alone or with fish or chicken, plantain, or beans. Then there are the Western versions. My sister makes a mean jollof rice with bacon, pancetta, with baby sweetcorn and parsnips. Delicious.
I decided that I would add a Spanish twist to my version. I chopped up some chorizo we had sitting in the fridge into slices and adding it to the mixture.
And what did I do?
I sliced one onion, chopped up two garlic cloves and added these ingredients to a saucepan with some butter. I let the onion sauté for a while then added two potatoes that had been chopped up into very small pieces. I then added two beef stock cubes, some ground nutmeg and a pinch of salt. I stirred this for a while (no fixed time frame – mostly until I was in aromatic heaven from the smell). I then added a can of chopped tomatoes, the slices of chorizo and then four small cups of rice. I then added enough water to cover the rice completely. In retrospect, four cups was perhaps too much for two people, but now there is plenty stored in the freezer for later. I then turned the heat up a little until the whole thing was bubbling and then turned the heat down. I let it cook until all the water was absorbed into the rice. It took about one hour and I did have to add a little more water when I could see that the rice was not cooking. However it all turned out nice in the end. The only thing missing was fried chicken and plantain!