I love Mexican rice. It’s one of those nice, carby side dishes that I have no problem consuming in mass quantities, and I’ve been known to order Mexican food with 2 extra sides of rice and then forget about my entrée. I snagged this recipe from Annie’s Eats, where it was co-opted from Dinner and Dessert, who found it in the September 2004 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. And presumably, the editors of Cook’s Illustrated found it somewhere, which means that, long story short, a lot of people have made and enjoyed this recipe. Good enough for me.
I was also super excited to find a recipe that I could use to test out my new food processor.
The Recipe: Mexican Rice
Time: 45 minutes
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 medium white onion
2 cups long grain white rice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp minced garlic
3 medium jalapenos, ribbed, seeded and minced
1 can (2 cups) 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.
Purée the onions, diced tomatoes, and one of the jalapenos until you have a soupy, dark red pulp. Transfer the mixture a liquid measuring cup; you should have 2 cups (or maybe a little more — mine filled my 2-cup measure past the line).
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. If you’re nervous about the mesh, put a paper towel underneath to catch any stray grains that might fall through. The original recipe says to shake the rice vigorously in the strainer to remove all excess water, but I found that it’s just as easy to tip it from side to side and drain off the water slowly. Shaking vigorously = rice falls out.
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed oven-safe Dutch oven or straight-sided sauté pan (or a wok, if you have neither) 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, and add the garlic and minced jalapenos to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 1/2 minutes.
Stir in the puréed tomatoes and onions, chicken broth, tomato paste, and salt. Turn up the heat to medium-high, and bring the mixture to a boil, then turn off the heat. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. If you’re like me and lost the lid to your pan while moving (oops), you can transfer the mixture from a wok into a large casserole dish. Bake until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring well after 15 minutes.
Stir in the cilantro (if you like cilantro, that is) and serve with lime wedges. Eat until you’re about to burst.
This rice is good. The Boyfriend and I enjoyed it as an entrée, with a side of citrus-marinated grilled chicken breast and some strawberry margaritas. And more rice for dessert, because it’s good.