Carne Adobada, or marinated meat with rice, is a typical dish in Spanish gastronomy. It's essentially just a savory sizzled sofrito loaded up with marinated pork (or whatever meat you have on hand), along with peas, spices, and fragrant rice. It's filling, flavorful, and has a fantastic texture. It's also a total crowd pleaser.
How to Make Marinated Meat with Rice
This traditional Spanish dish is straightforward and relatively economical. It is a versatile stew of sorts, where the consistency is just a little but brothy and the rice has a tender, soft chew.
You can make this dish with beef, chicken, or pork. But we definitely recommend using Ibérico pork filets. Try Loin Roast, Solomillo Tenderloin, or Presa for best results. Simply unwrap the loin and cut it into thin, even filets. Then cut those filets into bite-sized pieces to create more surface area for the meat to soak up all the juices and starches.
- 10 thinly sliced Ibérico pork filets of choice
- 4 cups white rice
- 6 cups water
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
- 7 oz. fresh or canned peas
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt
- Carrots and potatoes, chopped (optional)
- A few hours before you're ready to cook (or even a full day ahead), marinate the Ibérico filets in whatever mixture of spices, oils, and acids you fancy. Once you're ready to cook, remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
- Heat a drizzle of olive oil and garlic in a pan over medium heat. Cook until the garlic is golden brown and add the onions and a pinch of salt.
- Stir to combine and let the onion cook until it is softened.
- Add carrots and potatoes (if using).
- Cut the meat into bite sized pieces and add to the onion and garlic mixture.
- Blend the tomato into a pulp with a blender or food processor and pour it into the pan. Stir to combine.
- Add the rice to the pain, along with an extra drizzle of olive oil. You want to the rice to fry and toast up a bit in the oil.
- Add saffron, paprika, and a pinch of salt. Stir well to combine.
- Add the peas and the water and mix well.
- Cook for 5 minutes over high heat and then reduce to a simmer and cover the pan with a lid, leaving a little bit of space so some steam can escape (partially covered). Let cook for another 10 minutes, depending on the rice you are using and your textural preference.
- Once cooked, remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes before serving. ¡Buen provecho!
Tips for Preparing Carne Adobada with Rice
Carne adobada with rice is a blank canvas for flavor, vegetables, and personal tastes. Here are few ways to mix things up and personalize this dish:
- Instead of water, use vegetable, beef, or chicken stock to add more flavor
- Add other vegetables to the dish to amp up the nutrients. Try diced carrots or turnips, a handful of fresh spinach (or frozen), chopped broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, or even kale.
- Make the dish even more filing with diced potatoes or sweet potatoes
- You can also remove the rice from the heat 3 minutes ahead of time and let it finish cooking with the lid partially covered. This will leave extra liquid in the pan for a more brothy consistency.
- Here we recommend Ibérico pork but you can use chicken, beef, or even veal and lamb.
- Top with sparkle of chopped parsley to give it some color and flare.
- Serve the dish with a basket of good crusty bread to sop up all those remaining juices.