ARROZ CON MAÍZ, JAMÓN, Y COL (RICE WITH CORN, HAM, AND CABBAGE)

1/4 pound slab bacon, rind removed and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/4 cup pure Spanish olive oil (Italian is also ok)
1/4 pound ham steak, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 medium size onion, finely chopped
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup drained and chopped canned whole tomatoes or prepared tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup finely chopped drained pimientos
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron or 3 to 4 saffron threads crushed
2 cups raw long rain white rice
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage

1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon, stirring, until some of the fat is rendered, 2 to 3 minutes, then add the oil and ham and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring. Reduce the heat to low, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sherry, and pimientos and cook, stirring, 10 minutes.

2. Raise the heat to high, add the remaining ingredients except the corn and cabbage, and cook, uncovered until all the liquid has been absorbed and small craters appear over the top of the rice, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the corn and cabbage, mix well, cover, and simmer over low heat, stirring several times with a fork to prevent sticking, until the rice is dry and fluffy, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Makes 8 servings

Note: Step 1 (el sofrito) can be done up to 1 day ahead of time. Step 2 must be done just before eating as rice is best when it is served hot and fresh. If prepared without meat, then this dish can be served with a fried egg on top (Cuban style).

(from Memories of a Cuban Kitchen, by Mary Urrutia Randelman

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