A Locrio is a common Dominican dish, similar to paella. Like Paella, there are many variations. The main point is to have a little tomato sauce/paste for coloring, and some caramelized sugar. In that way it is similar to the Trinidadian Pilau.
Like Paella, the rice at the bottom should be toasted or browned, but not burnt. This browned rice is called "concon". You're not considered a good cook until you can do this.
- 4 lbs (1.8kg) Chicken cut up, alternatively one can use guineafowl, rabbit, Dominican salami, pork chops, or other meat, cut in pieces.
- ½ C Olives (pitted, preferably) or Capers.
- ¼ C Oil for frying
- 2 Tbsp Oil, used later when rice is almost done
- 1 Tbsp sugar
Liquids and rice
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tsp thyme
- ½ tsp Oregano (if desired)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
This recipe is in three steps: first caramelize the sugar, fry the meat / vegetables, then cook it with the rice.
Caramelizing the sugar
- Put the oil in the pot, and heat on high heat
- Put in the tablespoon of sugar.
- It will melt, then turn brown.
Note: pay close attention and don't let the sugar burn. Adding the chicken brings the temperature down. Also don't use plastic utensils to stir the sugar, since it will be at around 400F (200C), which will melt plastic. Use wooden or metal utensils, but the sugar may stick to it.
Frying the meat
- Add the meat (chicken, guineafowl, rabbit, etc.) and let it brown on both sides.
- Remove the meat
- Fry the garlic, onions, and celery
- Add rice, meat, and all liquid
- Add the salt, pepper, and thyme
- Add olives or capers.
- Although it is not authentic, you can add 1 tsp Ajinomoto (味の素). Some Dominicans add "Sazón Completo" which has MSG in it anyways.
- Check the seasoning. If the salt is good, add an extra ½ tsp of salt. This is because the rice will absorb some of the salt, and it will come out a bit flat in the end.
- On high heat, bring to a boil, and let it boil, stirring occasionally until the water is absorbed. (Note: the high heat is needed to bring the rice temperature up so that it cooks. If you lower the flame at this point, the rice might not cook all the way).
- Cover, lower the heat, and let it cook 15 minutes.
- Uncover, sprinkle 2 Tbsp oil on top, and stir so that the uncooked rice on top goes to the bottom
- Give another 5 minutes.
- If rice still not cooked, give it another stir and another 5 minutes. (Sometimes you may need more time: see notes below.)
- Turn heat on high for a couple of minutes to brown (toast) the rice on bottom (sometimes it does this by itself during the main cooking so you don't have to do this. Experience will tell.
Alternately, instead of cooking it on the stovetop with low heat (especially if the rice usually comes out hard on top), you can bake it in the oven:
- Preheat oven to 350F / 125 C
- Do steps 1–6 above for cooking rice, but in an oven proof pot which has a lid.
- When water is absorbed, cover it, put it in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes
- Add 2 Tbsp oil, stir so the uncooked rice is on the bottom, and the bottom rice is on the top
- Bake another 20 minutes
- Stir. If it is still not fully cooked, bake another 20 minutes
- If the rice doesn't cook, but all the water was absorbed, you can separate the rice from the meat, and put it in a bowl, and give it 5 minutes on high in the microwave. Often there wasn't enough heat to cook the rice. On some stoves, once covered (as mentioned above), one may have to cook 20 minutes, add oil, stir, and cook another 20 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
- It is also helpful to put a sheet or two of aluminium foil over the pot before putting the lid on. That helps seal the lid and keep the heat / steam from escaping. Rice often comes out better.
- Dominicans tend to cook the rice on the dry side: rice will be cooked through, but not too watery. The ratio should be 4 C rice to 5½ C liquid (some locrio recipes ask for 7 or 8 cups of liquid, which makes things mushy). If you have tomato sauce instead of tomato paste, you can use that also, as long as the ratios are the same (e.g. 1 C tomato sauce to 4½ C water/stock; which makes a total of 5½ C liquid). If you half the recipe, the ratio rice to liquid will be 2 C rice to 2¾ C liquid.
- Some people deep fry the meat separately, remove the excess oil, and then caramelize the sugar.
- The ingredients of the sofrito vary, and can be made in advance. Some add cilantro, bell peppers, culantro (Eryngium foetidum a.k.a. recao, culantro coyote, etc.) and other aromatics to it.
- Other vegetables such as 1 cup of cubed auyama (squash) sometimes are added with the rice.
- Almost any meat can be used. Pork chops (smoked), cubed Dominican Salami, cubed ham or spam, Arrenque (smoked dried herring, pre-soaked in warm water to remove some salt, but cut the amount of salt you use), canned sardines, Vienna Sausages, shellfish (mariscos) and if in desperation, ground beef, meatballs, hot dogs, etc. can also be used. One can use 2 lbs of chicken gizzards also, but gizzards need to be boiled (or pressure cooked) until tender first.
- Some people use Sazón Completo for the seasoning.
- One can take the skin off the chicken before frying it.
- Instead of chicken stock, some people throw in a bullion cube (sopapilla).