Arroz de Carreteiro

From Nelson’s Kitchen

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.

  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.