Thedas Cuisine Project: Antivan Arroz De Los Cuervos
Wheat and Barley are two of the most populous exports of Antiva, making it one of the prosperous nations in Thedas. After all, every nation in the continent relies on one of these grains in one way or another.
Two grains that most other nations have little interest in, however, are rice and corn. An old Antivan saying might very well be: El trigo es para el rey, pero el arroz es para el mendigo. “Wheat is for the king, but rice is for the beggar.” Rice and corn were considered through Thedas to be poor people food, with wheat and barley being the grains that most people desired. For this reason, among many, there were different flours for the poor than the rich. While the rich would get a flour that was a luxurious mix of wheat and barley (or only wheat if they were especially affluent), the poor would make due with what was known as ‘beggars flour’ or ‘peasants flour,’ which was usually a mixture of barley, wheat, dried peas and any other number of grains.
Rice and corn became very popular grains among the Antivan and Rivaini peoples, primarily because of how most of the wheat and barley were exported to other nations, with the more affluent among them buying up the lions share of what was left over. Breads made with rice and corn were more often seen than those made with barley or wheat, and dishes that consisted of a primary ingredient of either rice or corn became increasingly common.
As any person who has been to either Rivian or Antiva can attest - the chefs of these countries can make rice or corn taste like a luxury that neither wheat not barley can match.
Arroz de los Cuervos (”Crows’ Rice” in Antivan), or Pasto Corvo (“Crow Feed” in Antilian) as it is also called is a very common peasants dish throughout Antiva. It is named after The Antivan Crows - the famous order of Assassins that calls Antiva its home - because of the common theme amongst Antivan fantasies that the Crows must subsist on nothing but water and rice for months on end. In reality, the Crows eat much better than the vast majority of the nation, but that hasn’t stopped the myth from spreading.
Arroz Cuervo (as it is sometimes shortened to) is a dish primarily made of rice, butter, onions, basic antivan spices, and some kind of flavorful liquid (like chicken or vegetable broth). Food scraps, like cheap meats or cheap vegetables are sometimes also added to the dish.
There is very little difference between Arroz Cuervo and the more famous Paella. The major difference is that paella is usually a meal reserved for the nobility, given the rarity and cost of many of the ingredients (such as saffron, chorizo, many of the herbs, some of the seafood and meats etc). While paella can and will be made by peasants, it is usually a communal affair, with different families bringing different ingredients (which is one of the primary reasons why there are so many different variants of paella).
There is a major similarity with the two dishes as well, however. Both paella and arroz de los cuervos are traditionally made with rice found within the valleys and bays of Antiva - with arroz bahia (bay rice from Rialto and Salle), arroz treviso (white rice from the area of Treviso), arroz gleva (wild rice from the area of Seleny), and arroz bomba (rice from the valley regions of the weyrs) being the most common. The Antilian names of these rice varieties are riso alloro, riso treviso, riso radura, and riso pompa.
Also both Paella and Arroz de los Cuervos are traditionally cooked in a paella. Language is weird.
However, do not let the lack of fancy spices and scarcity of numerous ingredients fool you - Arroz de los Cuervos can be just as luxurious and delicious as its more esteemed cousin.
Makes enough for 6 servings
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 small onion, diced fine
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, gently crushed
- 1 sweet pepper, diced
- 2 cups white rice (preferably Antivan rice - or Spanish rice if you’re in the modern world)
- 3 cups unsalted chicken broth or vegetable broth (water will work fine too, but the rice won’t be as flavorful)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 bay leaf
- handful of parsley and oregano
- 1 ñora (dried pimento pepper), de-seeded and finely chopped
If you are unable to find ñora, then simply use 1 tsp of sweet spanish paprika. You can also buy pimento peppers, and dry them in a dehydrator (or in your oven on the lowest setting for about 12 hours).
- In a large pan (Preferably a paella pan, but a large sauce pan or frying pan will work fine), melt the butter until it almost starts to brown.
- Add your onions, and saute until translucent.
- Add your peppers and garlic, and saute until onions are lightly brown and peppers have gone soft.
- Add rice and saute, stirring gently, until rice begins to brown.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste, ñora, herbs, broth, and salt. Stir gently to incorporate and then never stir it again.
- Turn down the heat, cover, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Enjoy your arroz cuervo while observing your target from some shadowy rooftop, and remember: The crows never fail.