I don’t keep track of national food days, but National Vodka Day happened to come along at an appropriate time. I wanted to do a test run on a new rice recipe: Bloody Mary Rice with Sweet Tea Vodka. The recipe didn’t go well and so I didn’t post it on October 4th. Five months later I tried it again. This time it was excellent! Maybe it gets better with age? Ha.
The recipe starts much like a risotto, sautéing onions until translucent, then cooking the Jasmine rice kernels for a few minutes. I added some diced celery, as I like my Bloody Mary with a little celery salt.
Next the vodka is poured in along with the rest of the ingredients. But here’s where we got back to a normal rice dish. We bring the pot to a boil, then cover it and reduce to low and cook for about 20 minutes. (Then we make a Bloody Mary with the leftover tomato juice to enjoy while the rice cooks!).
My first time making this was somewhat of a fail because I’d used a skillet to sauté the onions and celery, and kept going using a skillet. That particular skillet has no lid, so I topped it with a baking sheet that didn’t quite cover the whole skillet. It really should have been a pot with a tight fitting lid. My rice didn’t cook, it stayed a little crunchy.
I cooked it for about an hour, adding more liquid, then more tomato juice, and the end result was still a bit al dente. It was edible, but barely. And it looked nothing like the pictures on the recipe. In frustration I set the post aside and four months later I started over again with a fresh can of tomato juice and a new bag of jasmine rice.
I followed the directions exactly as I had the first time (and added the celery), still using my large skillet. This time I put foil over the top of the skillet. I pinched the foil around the edges, then put a half sheet pan over the foil and set a tea kettle full of water on top. The extra weight kept the pan flat over the foil covered skillet. And this time it worked!
I had lovely Bloody Mary rice that was less risotto and more fried rice in texture and appearance. And again I poured myself a Bloody Mary drink with the leftover tomato juice in celebration. In 20 minutes the liquid was absorbed into the rice, it looked beautiful!
The other change I made the second time around was to make sure I used Jasmine rice. I had a bag of rice but I’d put it into a zippered bag and didn’t mark what kind of rice it was. This recipe definitely needs Jasmine rice, and I suspect mine wasn’t the first time. That will make a difference in cooking time and the amount of moisture needed.
It tasted great, the tea comes through nicely and along with the brown sugar makes the rice slightly sweet. The tomato juice, celery and thyme make the rice taste very much like a Bloody Mary. I served the rice with some panko crusted pork chops and dinner was delicious.
My tribute to National Vodka day was delayed a few months but it also accomplished my goal of using some of the Sweet Tea Vodka I received as a gift. I’d never found a drink I enjoyed with the vodka but it might be awesome in other savory recipes as well. I’ll definitely be using the vodka in more dishes. Maybe a pasta dish? Stay tuned for more recipes!
Bloody Mary Rice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet onion; finely diced
2 ribs celery; finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup Sweet Tea Vodka
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
4 sprigs fresh thyme (I used one teaspoon dried thyme)
In a medium-sized saucepan (or a skillet if you can tightly cover it) sauté the onion and celery in the butter and oil. Add salt and cook over medium high heat, stirring often, until the onions are translucent.
Add the rice, and cook for 2 more minutes.
Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and cook for 20 minutes without removing the lid.
Remove saucepan from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
Remove cover, remove thyme leaves from sprigs and add to rice, fluffing with a fork. Serve hot.
Adapted from Faith Hope Love and Luck