Rice with jerked beef, squash, and cheese is an easy, hearty, and complete dish that can be enjoyed all year round.
Today I would like to share with you a dish very close to my heart. It is from the Northeast of Brazil, the region where I am from: Rice with jerked beef, squash, and cheese (Arroz com carne seca, quibebe e queijo de coalho).
This is not only a nutritious dish (loaded with carbs, proteins, and many nutrients), but a delicious and comforting one.
It’s so complete that does not require any side accompaniments.
In Brazil, the beef used to make the dish that I am about to share with you is called carne seca, which means dehydrated beef in Portuguese. Although its mode of preparation is different from that of the dehydrated beef known in the United States as beef jerky, I would say that jerky would be still the best substitute for carne seca. The use of carne seca in Brazilian cuisine comes from a time when refrigeration was not available, so the only way to preserve meat was to dry it.
There in the Northeast of Brazil, we also use Pumpkin (quibebe, abóbora, or jerimun) to make this dish. Because pumpkin is very seasonal in the U.S., it can be easily substituted for by acorn squash or butternut squash, which are closely related to pumpkin.
The cheese used to make this dish is called Coalho Cheese (queijo de coalho or rennet cheese). Because it cannot be found in the U.S., I have found its most suitable substitutes here to be either Mexican Queso Fresco or Halloumi cheese from Cyprus. If you have never tasted Halloumi cheese, you will need to know that it is very salty. To desalt it, simply soak in cool water for 15 minutes and then rinse. It is important to repeat this process 3 or 4 times more until the saltiness is gone. After that, just pat-dry the cheese well with a clean towel, and for this recipe, cube.
Well, I do hope that you enjoy this hearty dish as much as I do. Let’s go to the kitchen now… and prepare our Rice with jerked beef, squash, and cheese.
Rice with jerked beef, squash, and cheese
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small white onion small diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 package beef jerky (strips, not the rolls), rehydrated and shredded (see instructions below), 6.2 oz or 176 grams
- 2 cups long-grain or whole-grain rice
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup acorn squash peeled, deseeded, and small cubed, pumpkin or butternut squash
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 6.5 grams ounces or 180small cubed cheese * Mexican Queso Fresco or Halloumi cheese from Cyprus
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped, or parsley
- First, rehydrate the beef jerky. In a pot, boil the beef jerky for about 30 minutes or until soft. Drain well and shred in a food processor.
- In a separate pot, over medium-high heat, sauté the onion until translucent and then the minced garlic cloves. Add the beef jerky and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the rice and brown for about 1 minute.
- Add the broth, the tomato sauce, the squash or pumpkin, salt, and pepper. Stir. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
- Remove from the stove, fluff the rice with a fork, and mix the cubed cheese and the cilantro or parsley. Serve immediately.