Let’s cut to the chase: I was never a big fan of arroz tapado. Even during my meat-eating years, I used to devour papas rellenaswith great enthusiasm, but remained unimpressed by the simplicity of the arroz tapado. This may seem strange, since both dishes are almost the same thing in different presentations: in one case the meat is stuffed inside a potato mash, and pan-fried; in the other it’s gracefuly placed between two layers of rice, creating an architecturally beautiful entree. Still, arroz tapado never seemed to make it into my list of favorites, whereas its potato sibling certainly was, and still is there. Personal taste is a mystery indeed.
Despite this, the other day I decided to prepare a vegetarian arroz tapado for old time’s sake, stuffing it with finely chopped portobello mushrooms instead of meat. I followed the instructions of the arroz tapado recipe my mom shared here a few months ago, replacing the meat with the mushrooms… and what do you know? I actually enjoyed it quite a bit! As it turns out, this dish has become completely new for me with the help of time and distance. I don’t know exactly what has changed (is it just my perception?), but I enjoyed every different taste and texture that I came across in my mouth while eating it. Every bite brought a surprise with it (raisins, olives, eggs, parsley…) and it never got boring.
If you’re a veggie (or not), I recommend you try it. Healthy, colorful, and full of different flavors, arroz tapado is now a completely satisfying discovery for me, and it may be the same for you too.
To prepare, follow the instructions of the regular arroz tapado, and replace the meat with chopped or minced portobellos.