Arroz de Grelos ❦ Portuguese Broccoli Rabe Rice
Updated: Mar 30
Rice is king in Portugal. There is evidence of rice being cultivated in Portugal as early as the 13th century, with two major varieties, Agulha and Carolino. I personally prefer, Agulha, which translates literally to needle. This grain is long and pointy and stays loose after cooking. It is favoured in drier rice dishes. We Portuguese also make wetter rice dishes. Our rice is usually "malandrinho" as we call it, with lots of broth. It has been compared to Italian risotto, but I think it ends at the rice grain, being short and starchy. Risotto is more like eating porridge.
Here in the UK, the closest to Grelos, aka broccoli rabe or rapini, has been mustard greens. Tenderstem broccoli looks similar, but lacks the sharp, bitter edge that Grelos deliver.
Everytime I go to Portugal my suitcase is jammed with a few bunches. I just love it. This rice is soul satisfying, gluten free and vegan if you omit the chicken stock.
Arroz de Grelos ❦ Portuguese Brocolli Rabe Rice
250 g. Long grain rice
250 g. Broccoli rabe, mustard greens or tenderstem broccoli
60 ml. Extra virgin olive oil
30 ml. Red wine vinegar
1 Medium onion finely chopped
1 Bay leaf
4 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. Chopped fresh ginger ( substitute ground ginger powder 1/4 tsp.)
750 ml. Hot water, chicken or vegetable stock, I used chicken stock ( having them hot prevents the cooking temperature from dropping if you need to add more)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
1. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil and onions on low heat until onions are translucent and soft. Do not let them brown. Stir often. Add garlic, ginger and bay leaf.
2. Increase heat to medium. Add broccoli rabe and stir to incorporate. Add vinegar and black pepper to taste. Let cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
3. Add hot water or stock and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. This will make the greens less bitter.
4. Add rice. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook rice for 20-25 minutes. Check and stir often, adding more hot water or stock until rice is cooked. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Discard bay leaf.
Rice should be fluffy, moist and soft to bite.