Christmas Rice with Balsamic Syrup

Christmas in Peruvian tables means roast turkey or pork. Sometimes chicken or duck take their place, but without a doubt turkey is the absolute centerpiece of the celebration. Along with the bird, a variety of colorful and succulent side dishes are served.

There is always a huge bowl with salad, and a hot baking dish with baked sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, or sweet potato puree. Applesauce is something not to be missed, and sometimes quince puree brings its delicious flavor to the buffet as well.

But no dinner is complete in Peru -Christmas or not- without one or more rice dishes. During the holidays, these must contain several colors and textures, attained by adding fruits, vegetables, bacon, and more. I like to think of these dishes as chopped salads, perfect to mop up the turkey sauce (or pork or chicken sauce), and of course, to eat as leftovers the following day.

Christmas Rice with Balsamic Syrup
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 cups raw rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • 4 ½ cups boiling water
  • ½ cup toasted almonds
  • ½ cup dried and chopped apricots, macerated in 1 cup white wine up to one day
  • 2 cups spinach, cut in slices
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons sauco (elderberry) marmalade
  • Balsamic Syrup:
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 sage leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add bacon, onion and garlic, cook over high heat, stirring every now and then. Add rice, stir, add salt, pepper, and cinnamon.
  2. Add water, cover, lower the heat and cook for 20 –25 minutes until the rice is done.
  3. Add apricots, toasted almonds, spinach, red pepper and sauco (elderberry). Stir and serve.
  4. Balsamic Syrup:
  5. In a small saucepan over high heat melt the sugar and add the vinegar. Cook until reduced by half. Add salt and pepper, and sage leaves. Pour over the rice.


  1. so good!

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