Make as a side to black beans for a nice vegetarian meal. Annatto seeds are brick red, triangular in shape, 1/8” - 3/16”. The seeds are available whole and can often be purchased in a block or paste form at Latin American section of your supermarkets. Annatto was once used to control fevers, dysentery and kidney diseases, though is now used mostly as a dye in medical preparations such as ointments and plasters. In India the pulp is used as an insect repellent.
- 1 -2 teaspoon annatto seeds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 1 cup bell pepper, minced
- 2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 2 1⁄2 cups water or 2 1⁄2 cups vegetables or 2 1⁄2 cups chicken stock
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cumin
- 3 sprigs cilantro
- Infusing Annatto Oil:.
- Heat the seeds and oil in a small saucepan over low heat, swirling pan frequently, until the oil turns bright red-orange in color. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes and then remove from heat. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then strain the oil. Discard the seeds.
- Reheat annatto oil and butter in a skillet. Saute the onions, celery and garlic with salt, pepper and cumin to taste until soft. Add the bell peppers and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the peppers are lightly cooked.
- Next add the rice and stir into the mixture.
- Saute it until the rice turns opaque.
- Add the stock or water and cook covered for about 15 minutes in medium heat until cooked.
- Garnish with cilantro, lime slices and Pimentos.