WINE & DINE: Portuguese Naughty Rice & Vinho Verde Wine!
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Arroz Malandrinho aka "Naughty Rice"
The Portuguese rice dish, Arroz Malandrinho, loosely translates as “Naughty Rice” (well this is my favourite translation!), and was the most memorable culinary experience I encountered while travelling through the wine region of Vinho Verde in Northern Portugal. In this recipe, rice is cooked slowly in a delicious, homely broth (as opposed to boiling in water) made from tomatoes, vegetables and stock and is then served in all these lovely juices. This classic Portuguese dish is food that warms the soul!
Naughty Rice can be served as a side dish, a vegetarian main or with different meats or fish. My recipe today is for Naughty Rice with halibut and prawns and is based on a dish I had at the ultra-stylish Hotel Monverde which you must check out. I had a wonderful visit to this beautiful, yet understated architectural masterpiece of a hotel situated among the vines of Vinho Verde (see below!).
Now, back to the recipe...my Naughty Rice recipe is so simple yet so enjoyable! I love how it’s made and served in one pot: what a great spectacle for your friends and family at the table. This one-pot Portuguese dish pairs excellently with both the fresh and citrus-driven styles of white Vinho Verde wine, and richer, full-bodied styles of Vinho Verde. I’ve included 3 delicious wine pairing selections below the recipe. Enjoy!
for x 4 people
4 shallots, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 bay leaves
1 heaped teaspoon of paprika
400g tin of quality chopped tomatoes
Juice of ½ lemon
1 large glass of white wine
750ml vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to season
250g long-grain rice (I like this style but it can be substituted!)
400g raw king prawns
280g halibut (or other meaty white fish)
Small bunch of chopped parsley (to serve)
1 medium-large casserole dish with a lid
Vinho Verde - see my recommendations below
Step 1: put the casserole dish on the hob and turn to a medium heat. Add a little olive oil and then the shallots, red pepper and garlic, and stir.
Step 2: as the shallots begin to turn translucent, add the bay leaves and the paprika and continue to stir, making sure the ingredients don’t burn, and continue to cook on a medium heat.
Step 3: after another minute or so, add the tinned tomatoes and the juice of half a lemon, and continue to stir.
Step 4: once the tomatoes have been stirred through, add the glass of white wine, 75 ml of vegetable stock and salt and pepper to season. Turn up the heat a little so that the juices start to bubble and the alcohol is burnt off the wine (we want the flavours of the wine, but not the alcohol in the dish) and keep stirring.
Step 5: after 3-5 minutes, taste the juices and add any additional seasoning if desired. Then add the rice to the casserole dish and turn the heat low so that the rice gently simmers in the juices. Place the lid on top of the casserole dish with a ½-inch opening allowing the excess water to evaporate.
Step 6: pour a generous glass of Vinho Verde to reward yourself for your efforts so far! Leave the rice to simmer for around 12-15 minutes, checking occasionally and stirring. If the juices have dried up, add a little more vegetable stock or water and stir through to keep the dish moist.
Step 7: once the rice is cooked through, on a low heat add the raw prawns and halibut. The prawns and fish should cook through in a few minutes – make sure to taste test/cut the prawns or halibut open to check they’re cooked through. Gently stir the rice while the prawns and halibut are cooking.
Step 8: once the prawns and halibut are cooked through you’re ready to serve. You could cook up a few extra jumbo prawns separately in a frying pan to place on top of the Naughty Rice for that wow factor! To serve, sprinkle some roughly chopped parsley on top of your masterpiece, make sure everyone’s glass is topped up with Vinho Verde, and bring the pot to the table!
I've loved discovering the diversity of white Vinho Verde wines while in the region. We typically think of Vinho Verde wines as very light, bright, citrus-driven wines, but there are lots of producers making a variety of interesting and delicious textured, rich and ripe styles. A range of different grapes can be used in Vinho Verde white wines, which include: Alvarinho, Loureiro, Arinto, Avesso and Trajudura. Traditionally, Vinho Verde white wines were made from a blend of grapes, but many producers are now making varietal wines which capture the unique character of these individual grapes (read more here). Below are my three recommendations. These are three wines I tried during my trip to Portugal with the winemakers/ambassadors from each winery. I really encourage you to try these wines and see how exciting Vinho Verde wines are!
Quinta Das Arcas 'Conde Villar' Alvarinho 2016 - Kwoff, £13.99
Fresh style of white Vinho Verde made from 100% Alvarinho grapes. Expect notes of yellow pear, peach, grapefruit and blossom. This wine has high, energetic acid but also a lovely fruity and rounded mouthfeel on the finish so it feels very balanced. Excellent with seafood dishes like my Naughty Rice. BUY NOW
Soalheiro Alvarinho 2018 - The Whisky Exchange, £16.95
This is a serious Alvarinho! Made from 100% organic Alvarinho grapes grown in the Northern sub-region of Melgaço in Vinho Verde. This wine is elegant, exciting and so, so delicious. Expect ripe citrus and stone fruits and a lovely honeyed, mineral, almost saline complexity. This wine can age too - I tried some older vintages with around 10 years bottle age and they were beautiful, with intensely concentrated flavours. BUY NOW
Covela, Reserva Branco 2014 - Twisted Cellar, £28.00
This organic wine is made from a blend based on the Avesso grape with some Chardonnay and Arinto. It comes from the Baião sub-region of Vinho Verde which is warmer and drier than other sub-regions producing ripe and intense fruit. This wine undergoes spontaneous fermentation in French and Austrian oak barrels and is aged on its lees. Characterful wine with notes of peach, lemon, pineapple and honeysuckle, with subtle spicy, buttery and almond notes. BUY NOW
*This recipe is sponsored by my lovely friends at Vinho Verde Wines!