One of my favorite comfort side dishes for the holidays is a nice helping of arroz huerfano, or orphan rice. Arroz huerfano is not only white rice cooked and fluffed to perfection but also a side dish enhanced with some very popular and seasonal ingredients such as nuts, deli meats and curry powder. The combination is heavenly and so versatile, it pairs up with just about every protein main dish you can think of.
Arroz huerfano’s name is said to originate from Saltillo, Coahuila. Home of Doña Graciela Garza Arocha de Jaime’s restaurant “La Canasta” where arroz huérfano was created. When Doña Graciela served it to a famous local columnist Roberto Orozco Melo, he requested seconds and thirds and commented that this rice was so good, it didn’t have parents. Doña Graciela took the idea and named it “orphan rice”.
Whether you give it a personal twist, arroz huerfano usually includes toasted nuts, garlic, onion, cooked bacon and celery. Some add ham, pine nuts and parsley to the mix. The flavor variations are endless.
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- ¼ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 4 cups water
- 1 ½ teaspoons chicken flavor bouillon
- 4 strips smoked bacon
- 1/2 cup cooked ham, chopped
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Worchestire sauce
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup pecan halves
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- In a large saute pan, heat oil over low medium heat. Add onion, garlic and rice. Stir until rice begins to brown slightly, add curry powder and water. Stir to combine; approximately 5 minutes.
- Add buillon, lower heat to low, COVER and cook for 20 minutes.
- In a separate pan, cook bacon until slightly crisp. Carefully drain any excess grease. Add chopped ham,
- pepper and worchestire sauce. Cook for approximately 5 minutes.
- Add bacon mixture, almonds and pecans to rice. Toss to combine. Garnish with chopped cilantro and
- serve warm or at room temperature.