Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mexican Rice

Of all the foods I had thought of making from scratch, Mexican rice wasn't even on the radar. The yummy cilantro-lime rice from Chipotle, yes. But a replacement for the Lipton packets of Mexican rice, no. Hadn't even considered it.

But I am now a changed (and enlightened, even) woman. This rice is flavorful, without being spicy or overpowering. It involves a bit of prep (pureeing and chopping), but as I have been craving it since I first made it two weeks ago, it's totally worth it in my opinion. The rice is consistently moist and perfectly cooked with a complex, though not spicy, delicious flavor.

Don't forget that little squeeze of lime juice when serving it. It really elevates this dish from great to amazing.

Click on the below image to view the steps more clearly:

In true unplanned form, dinner was served with some fresh pineapple, sliced red peppers, and homemade NACHOS! Reason #452 I love Mexican food for dinner. :) (Not pictured are the chopped tomatoes and salsa we had with it.)

Mexican Rice
Serves 8-10
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled, trimmed and quartered
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 3 medium jalapenos, ribbed, seeded and minced
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and move a rack to the middle position.  Process tomatoes and onions in the food processor until smooth and thoroughly pureed, about 15 seconds, scraping down the bowl if necessary.  Transfer the mixture a liquid measuring cup; you should have 2 cups (if necessary, spoon off excess or add water so that the volume equals 2 cups).

Place the rice in a large fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Shake rice vigorously in strainer to remove all excess water.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed oven-safe Dutch oven or straight-sided sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the rice and fry, stirring frequently, until it is golden and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium; add the garlic and minced jalapenos; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Stir in pureed tomatoes and onions, chicken broth, tomato paste and salt; increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Cover the pan an transfer to the oven; bake until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring well after 15 minutes.

Stir in cilantro (if desired) and serve with lime wedges. 

Source: Annie's Eats, originally (and adapted) from Cooks Illustrated, Sept. 2004

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