I have vivid memories of the moist and oniony meatballs she would fry up for us, as well as the ubiquitous Brazilian birthday party chocolate bon bon, called brigadeiros. Ignes often treated us to a delicious chocolate cake that was so good on it’s own, no icing or further embellishment was required. As much as I loved the chocolaty treats, it is her method for making rice that has really stuck with me all this time. I have been trying religiously for the past ten years to conjure up the garlicky aroma and depth of flavor that I remember so fondly from my time in Brazil. The recipe below is as close as I have been able to come to reproducing Ignes’ staple. I hope that this dish would have made her proud, and that it will provide as much comfort to those who try it, as it did to me when I was a youngster in a foreign land.
Recently, I received news of the death of a dear woman, Ignes Pellis. Ignes was my family’s housekeeper during my childhood in Brazil. Ignes did much more than keep our house neat and tidy. She took care of us by being a friend, companion, interpreter, babysitter and most importantly, cook.
ARROZ DE IGNES:
4 TBSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Spanish Onion, Finely Minced
1 Large Carrot, Finely Minced
4 Garlic Cloves, Grated
2 Cups White Rice*
3 TSP Kosher Salt
4 Cups Chicken Stock
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over med-high heat. Add onion and carrot and saute, stirring constantly until veggies are softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Be sure not to burn the garlic, so keep stirring. Add the rice, making sure to coat all the grains with olive oil. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Let cook untouched with the lid on 20-25 minutes, until the rice is cooked and the liquid has evaporated. Fluff with a fork before serving.
*2 Cups of brown basmati rice may be substituted