This Creole rice side dish recipe is prepared with white rice, onions, carrots, thyme, and parsley for an authentic French Caribbean flavor. The vegetables are removed after cooking leaving you with a flavor-infused, non-starchy side dish for any meal, but try it with Chicken Columbo, another recipe from Ovide's "French Caribbean Cuisine."
Creole and Cajun Cookery
Creoles refers to the original European -- particularly French and Spanish -- settlers of New Orleans who were mostly from wealthy families and who brought their personal chefs from Paris, Madrid and other European capitals. Since many of the ingredients they traditionally used were unavailable locally, they adapted their recipes to include native Louisiana ingredients like shellfish, snapper, pompano, alligator, meats, game and squash like cushaw and mirliton (chayote), sugar cane and pecans. Add to that the cooking tips and seasonings from the native Indians, Caribbean and African cooks and this new style of Creole cooking was born.
Cajuns are descendants of the Acadians expelled from Acadia (formerly Nova Scotia) in 1755 who resettled in southwest Louisiana. While the language (French) and religion (Catholic) were familiar to them, the swamps, bayous, prairies and native ingredients weren't. The Cajuns applied their French cooking techniques to the exotic meats, fish and produce of this new homeland to create Cajun cooking, considered to be a homespun version of Creole cooking. A popular misconception is that Cajun food is spicy hot. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Click here for more about the differences between Creole and Cajun cuisines.
- 2 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 whole onion, peeled
- 1 branch parsley
- 1 branch thyme
- 1 whole carrot, peeled
- Soak 2 1/2 cups long-grain white rice in cold water for 15 minutes and drain.
- In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. 1 teaspoon salt, 1 whole peeled onion, 1 branch parsley, 1 branch thyme, and 1 whole peeled carrot. Add the rinsed rice and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Remove the onion, parsley, thyme, and carrot. Drain the rice in a colander to remove any lingering starchiness. Rinse under cold running water. Drain again and turn into the saucepan.
- Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes until the rice grains are completely dry.
- Serve as a side dish or with Chicken Columbo.
Recipe Source: French Caribbean Cuisine by Stephanie Ovide (Hippocrene Books). Reprinted with permission.