Oh my goodness. This RICE! Normally, rice is Ben’s obsession, but this time, it’s mine. This Mexican Rice is seriously amazing. It’s the closest restaurant-style replica recipe that I have ever successfully made. Ben agreed, and thought this was better than something you could get at a restaurant. And for a guy who likes to eat out, that’s saying something!! So many recipes online or in cookbooks claim to be restaurant-worthy, but most of the time, they’re lying. Well this one? Not so much. It’s just like the rice you’d get at your favorite local hole in the wall Mexican place.
When I first saw that the recipe called for three jalapenos, I have to admit that I was a little nervous [even considering my recent love of spice]. But really, I needn’t have been afraid–this rice had the perfect amount of kick. Not too spicy, not too bland. Stirring in cilantro at the end and adding a squeeze of lime juice to each serving definitely balanced out the flavors and gave the rice a little something special.
At first glance, this Mexican Rice recipe might look a bit intimidating. Even if it has good flavor, isn’t it a bit overkill to go through all these steps of rinsing and sautéing the rice, then cooking it on the stove and in the oven? NO! Not at all. Don’t skip a step–each is necessary to make this light and fluffy without a bit of gloopy, gloppiness that can all too easily happen when a bunch of stuff is added to rice. The texture isn’t sticky or mushy. It’s just perfect. And when paired with homemade tacos and refried beans, well, it’s just like eating at a restaurant But at home, for a fraction of the cost… and with all the leftovers you could want. 🙂 I know I’ll be making this rice over and over again for many tacos nights in our future, and I hope you will too. Enjoy!
- 1 can diced tomatoes [15 ounces]
- 1 medium onion [yellow or white]
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3 medium jalapenos, minced and divided [deseed as desired–I deseeded two]
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lime, wedged
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor or blender, combine tomatoes and onion. Puree until smooth, then pour into a measuring cup and reserve 2 cups. Discard excess [or save for something else, like salsa, or eat with a spoon…].
Add oil to a large [10-12 inch] straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven [with a tight fitting lid] and set over medium-high heat. While oil is heating up, place rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water for about 2 minutes or until water runs clear. This is similar to rinsing quinoa–it removes the starch from the rice to make it nice and fluffy. Do not omit this step! Shake rice to remove excess water.
Next, drop a few grains of rice in the oil. If they sizzle it is ready. Add rice to oil and cook for 6-8 minutes, constantly stirring, until rice is lightly golden and translucent. Reduce heat a little if the oil starts to splatter, and add up to another 2 tablespoons of oil if it seems too dry.
Reduce heat to medium, then add 2 jalapenos and garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Stir in pureed tomatoes and onions and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove and stir well. Return to oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from oven and stir in remaining jalapeno and cilantro. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with a wedge of lime to squeeze on each serving before enjoying.
Time: 55 minutes [20 minutes active].
Yield: 8-10 servings.
Notes: You can use 12 ounces fresh ripe tomatoes but since I made this before tomato season, I opted for canned. If you use fresh tomatoes, the recipe recommends supplementing with salsa if you need to get up to 2 cups AND to add 1 tablespoon tomato paste to the mix as well.
Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.