Arroz de Carreteiro

From Nelson’s Kitchen
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Arroz de Carreteiro is a traditional dish from the state of Rio Grande do Sul. There are probably as many recipes for Arroz Carreteiro as there are Gaucho cooks. Here is one that I use. I make my own “charque" because I live in Edmonton, Alberta, but in Rio Grande do Sul you can buy the charque already made.

Ingredients:
 
Procedure:
 
  1. Make the Charque (a few days before you plan to make the Carreteiro)
    • Trim fat and sinuous tissue from the meat.
    • Gently rub coarse salt on the meat until it is covered in salt.
    • Make a small slit close to one end of each piece of meat with a paring knife.
    • Thread a long piece of twine and tie.
    • Tie the twine to something high and put a large container underneath the pieces of meat.
    • Let the slated meat hang for a few days. Check every day to ensure that the meat is not getting too dry (it should not become leathery).
    • When the meat has dried enough and acquired a dark purple colour, you can place the meat into plastic bags and store in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks, or in the freezer for months.
  2. Dice the charque
    • Rinse the charque under cold water and remove any visible salt that might be stuck to the charque.
    • Dice the charque in very small pieces (about 1/4 of an inch)
  3. Sautee and boil the rice
    • Heat the water in the microwave until it is boiling — four to five minutes.
    • In a large heavy pot, heat up some cooking oil.
    • Sautee the charque, but don’t let it get too crispy.
    • Add the chopped onions and sautee until they are soft.
    • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
    • Add the rice and stir fry it until some of the grains start becoming opaque.
    • Add the hot water.
    • Taste the water to see if you need to add more salt.
    • Reduce the fire to the slowest simmer.
    • Pour the hot water over the rice stirring.
    • Cover the pot and simmer for about 35 minutes. Do not open the pot.
    • After 35 minutes, taste a few grains from the top to see if they are almost cooked. If they are, turn off the fire and keep the pot closed for another ten minutes.
    • Do not stir the rice.