I love rice. I love Paella. I also love Arroz Negro. That's black rice to you and me. I first tasted it in Valencia and I've been hooked ever since. Today you are likely to find it on menus in Valencian as Arroz Negro and in Catalan written as Arròs Negre. You'll find people in each region laying claim to originating this unique dish. Who invented it doesn't matter. It's how it is cooked and served today that counts. If you use calamari to colour the rice then you can extract it from the squid yourself or buy sachets of black ink from most Spanish supermarkets. It's more fun to do it yourself but be sure not to be wearing your favourite white shirt or dress when preparing this dish. Things can get messy. Here is a great recipe from Núria at Spanish Recipes.

Ingredients

  • 2 big onions
  • 2 leeks
  • 8 shrimps
  • 400 grams of rice
  • Salt
For the fish stock
  • Quarter of the head of a monkfish
  • 1 leek
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • Salt
  • 1 garlic head
  • a bunch of parsley
  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 pimientos choriceros or ñoras or their meat paste (3 full teapsoons)
  • ink from two cuttlefish
  • olive oil
  • 2 litres of fish stock
  • 600 grams of cleaned squids

Preparation

Start the stew: Peel and cut the onions, the leeks the garlic head (in half and don't take peel away). Pour enough olive oil to cover all the casserole's surface and throw the veggies in. The heat should be low. Add some salt. When the vegetables are tender and soft add the tomatoes cut in half, the bunch of parsley, the ñoras or pimientos or the 3 teaspoons of their meat and the cleaned squids with their legs.
Start the fish stock: In a different pot place the cleaned monk fish head, and the veggies cleaned and cut. Cover with water (aprox 3 liters), add some salt and bring to boil. Take the white foam away and boil for maximum 30 minutes. Strain and reserve. Continue with the stew: When the squids have left all their water and the tomatoes are nearly dissolved (this could take aprox 30 to 45 minutes), add the cuttlefish ink and the 2 liters of the fish stock you just prepared. Cook with the heat low until the liquid reduces half its volume. Separate the ingredients: Strain the black liquid in a big bowl, pick the squids and reserve in a different plate and take all the veggies aside. Start the rice: Place a big pan and heat some olive oil. Fry a garlic clove in that oil and when it starts changing its colour, remove. Low heat. Take the veggies and leave their peels in the plate, as well as the garlic and parsley. Take the rest and fry in the garlic oil. Stir.