Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Rice with chard, white beans and snails

I hope that the snails in the title haven't scared you off:), but if you don't feel like eating snails, I assure you that this dish tastes just as well without them. However, one thing is certain: snails add the character to this rice dish:). So, the choice is yours:). I've always associated snails with French cuisine and I was quite surprised to see that also Spaniards appreciate their taste and that snails is a key ingredient in many traditional Spanish dishes. They are often added to dishes with rice, combined with rabbit, tuna, cod or a quail meat. Snails are also served with a variety of sauces, often with a spicy tomato sauce; or can be simply stuffed with a garlic-parsley butter. The most delicious snails I've ever tried, however, are those from Seville, where - in almost every tapas bar - snails are served with a little bit of delicious broth - during my 3-day stay there, I ate them 3 times and they had always been delicious:). Apart from the land snails, in Spain also sea snails are eaten, e.g. the Galician small, gray-black ones called caramuxos or Mediterranean cañaillas, larger than the land ones.

Ingredients (serves 4 ):

1 bunch of Swiss chard
750 ml vegetable broth
200 g white beans (cooked al dente)
250 g cooked snails (optional)
1 onion
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch of saffron
200 g rice (I used wholegrain rice, but you can use a regular long grain one)
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
chopped parsley


I used frozen, cooked snails, skipping this way quite tedious process of cleaning them:). To defrost the snails put them into a bowl with cold water and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until they thaw.

Wrap the saffron in a piece of aluminium foil, and toast it for about 10 seconds on a hot and dry frying pan. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil. Add chopped onion and fry until softened but not colored. Add chopped garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the tomato puree and saffron, and mix well. After about 5 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the smoked paprika powder. Add salt to taste. Set aside. In a saucepan or deep frying pan with lid, heat the vegetable broth. Add chopped chard leaves and white beans cooked al dente. After 5 minutes add the onion mix from the frying pan and stir well. When the broth starts to boil again, add the rice. Lower the heat, cover and let simmer according to time specified on the rice package. Add the snails about 15 minutes before the end of cooking time. Before serving, sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Enjoy !!!

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