Last Updated on September 30, 2021
This is one of those recipes you can easily make your own. And, one that will happily accommodate all kinds of leftovers. I make it these days with Spanish bomba rice, the type you’d normally use for paella and indeed, it does use some of the same techniques you’d use for a paella. But, there’s nothing authentic, classic or even ‘fixed’ about this dish. Made with mushrooms it’s a beautifully earthy dish. I like adding a little spicy sausage or bacon to the dish some red onion and a few tomatoes. Of course, the bacon or sausage can be left out if you are making a vegan version of spicy mushroom rice – and there’s nothing else in the dish to worry about.
When I was a child, we ate a version of this, usually with chopped up boiled egg, sausage, bacon and tomato mixed up with whatever leftover meat and vegetables we had. But, at the time bomba rice was not something you could easily get hold of. I’d strongly recommend making this dish a few times and varying the ingredients a bit until you are happy with the end result. You can spice it up with soy or Lea and Perrins. Or, like me, you can use Spanish spices. My own recipe uses saffron and sweet smoked paprika to add a kick to the finished dish without overwhelming the delicate taste of the mushrooms.
If you’d like to try for yourself you’ll need about 200g of bomba rice, 200g of mushrooms, a glass of dry vermouth or white wine, a red onion, a couple of slices of smoked bacon, some garlic and a few mini plum tomatoes. That, together with some really good quality olive oil, saffron, sweet smoked paprika and a handful of fresh parsley will make a delicious supper dish for two.
Soak a pinch of saffron in warm water to create a delicately flavoured liquid. Cook the mushrooms in olive oil first, then do the same with half of the red onion. Put everything in a warm oven while you get the rice going. Finely chop the rest of the red onion and the garlic, then gently saute the mixture with the bacon gently in olive oil. Add the rice and cook it for a minute or so until it is translucent. Stir in the paprika so that the oils are released, then add a glass of vermouth and the liquid from soaking the saffron. Pour over about 300ml of stock or water and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir once and add in the cooked mushrooms and onions, then leave the mixture to cook gently, without stirring.
Once the rice is cooked, stir through the chopped parsley and leave to sit for a minute or two off the heat.
This is proper comfort food – and something I’ve really enjoyed making again. It’s very easy, especially if like me, you are lucky enough to have a cast-iron skillet. This one is from the new Britannia range by Samuel Groves and it’s one of those pans I know I will use again and again. It’s beautifully made, from 70% recycled materials, with a lifetime guarantee. What I like best about it is that it cooks brilliantly and feels really well balanced. It works just as well on the hob as in the oven and you can even put it on a barbecue! I’m looking forward to getting the other sizes – the 24cm is perfect for meals for one or two, but there are two more skillets and a range of frying pans too.
Here’s how to make my spicy mushroom rice in an easy to print version
Spicy Mushroom Rice
- 24cm skillet or ovenproof frying pan
- 200 g mushrooms - I used chestnut
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 200 g bomba rice
- 300 ml stock or water
- 100 ml dry white wine or vermouth
- 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 6 small tomatoes
- 2 rashers smoked back bacon (or one sausage)
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel the red onion and chop in half. Dice one half finely and cut the other half into slices
- Peel and chop the garlic
- Cut half the tomatoes in half and chop the other half
- Remove any excess fat from the bacon and cut into slices
- Clean, trim and slice the mushroom
- Warm half the oil in the skillet and fry the sliced onion and garlic until soft then put in a casserole in a warm oven to keep hot
- Fry the mushrooms in batches and add to the casserole in the oven
- Fry the bacon, chopped tomato and onion, then sprinkle over the paprika and stir for a few seconds to release the oils
- Add the rest of the olive oil and the rice
- Cook gently for a minute before pouring over the vermouth or wine
- Stir until the vermouth has nearly evaporated, then add the stock or water and the tomato halves
- Allow the mixture to cook over a low heat for 10 minutes before stirring through the mushroom and onion mixture and seasoning with salt and pepper. Add more water as necessary but do not keep stirring
- Cook until the rice is tender and all the liquid has evaporated. Then, stir through the finely chopped parsley, check the seasoning and allow the rice to rest for at least 5 minutes
Looking for more comfort food? try our vegetarian goulash recipe