This Portuguese version of a risotto has hints of bitter from the turnip greens and sour from the vinegar.
By Rochelle Ramos
Outside, the earth is wet from a misty rain that the Portuguese like to call chuva molha parvos, or fools rain, because you think it’s just misty. That it’s not really raining so there is no sense going inside yet. That you’ll go inside when it actually starts to rain. An hour later and you’re soaked to the bone and freezing cold. Rain of fools indeed.
I’ve learned that when the weather likes to play that way, I’d rather play in the cozinha (kitchen). I can watch the moody clouds from the window and be happy that the grass is greener outside. That’s one thing this rain is good for, getting all the plantas to grow or just prepare themselves for spring.
In my little cozinha on days like today, I enjoy making simple and warm foods that warm the body and fill the belly. This time around it happens to be one of my favorite Portuguese dishes too; arroz de grelos.
It’s not for everyone, with hints of bitter from the turnip greens and sour from the vinegar. But when mixed in with a creamy, not quite risotto, rice I can’t help but love it. I’ll eat this by itself without a problem.
Especially when it’s gray outside and the fools rain is upon us.
- 1 bunch turnip greens
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 cups (300g or 10.5 oz) uncooked rice
- 4 cups water
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- coarse salt
- Wash the turnip greens thoroughly to remove any dirt. Trim the ends of the stems and discard. Roughly chop and set aside.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add in garlic and onions, sauteing until lightly browned on the edges; about 3-4 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and add in the turnip greens and stir everything together. Cover with a lid and allow the greens to wilt and the stems to soften, stirring occasionally; about 7-9 minutes.
- Remove the lid and add the rice to the pan. stirring to combine. Add in about ¼ of the water to the pot and stir. Allow the rice to absorb some of the water before adding in the rest of the water. Stirring occasionally, allow the rice to finish cooking through. The texture should be creamy, not dry. Turn off the heat
- Add vinegar and season with salt, stir well. Cover and let 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
Rochelle is an Americana cooking, eating, photographing and writing in Portugal. She has a love for real food and learning to make it from scratch. As a new expat, she is slowly learning to speak the language and will soon be able to order more than just a café and pastel de nata from the local pastelaria.