Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Perfect Mexican Rice

Although I had a "good" recipe for Mexican rice, I was looking to tweak it just a little. The outcome? Perfect!! It was flavorful with a nice fluffy texture. Now to work on perfecting my flour tortillas! :-)

eta: I wanted to make this again, but did not have fresh tomatoes on hand. Instead I used a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes. I pureed them in the blender with the onion and it yielded 2 cups. I think that there must be more liquid in the canned ones becaus the finished product wasn't as "fluffy" as I like. So, you can certainly use canned tomatoes if that is what you have, but I would decrease the chicken broth by maybe 1/4 cup to compensate. But even if you make the rice with all of the liquid, the rice is still pretty tasty!!

2 ripe tomatoes (about 12 oz), cored and quartered
1 onion, quartered
3 medium jalapeno chilies (I left these out b/c I didn't have any)
2 cups long grain white rice
1/3 cup canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Process the tomatoes and onion in a food processor (or blender) until smooth. You should have 2 cups liquid. If you have more than 2 cups, spoon off excess. If you have less than 2 cups, you can process another tomato or add a little water. It is important to have exactly 2 cups. If you are using jalapenos, remove seeds and mince flesh. Set aside.

3. Put the rice in a strainer and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear (about 1-2 minutes). Shake rice to remove excess water. Removing as much water as possible is an important step as it will cause a lot of splattering when you put the rice in the oil (trust me on this).

4. Use a 12 inch oven safe pan that has a tight fitting lid. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat about 1-2 minutes. The oil is ready when you drop in a few grains of rice and they sizzle. Add the rice and stir frequently until the rice is golden and translucent (about 6-8 minutes). Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and jalapenos; cook stirring constantly about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in pureed tomatoes and onion, chicken broth, tomato paste and salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cover pan and transfer to oven.

5. The total cooking time is 30-35 minutes. Put the rice in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. Stir the rice after 15 minutes and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. After the full 30 minutes, stir rice. You can leave the rice covered on the counter until needed. Garnish with a squeeze of lime juice, cilantro, more jalapeno or whatever you prefer!

This is what the rice looks like after 15 minutes. You need to stir it to incorporate everything.

This is after stirring the rice.

This is after the full 30 minutes.


No comments: