I have a major backlog of posts waiting, but I'm trying to spread them out. This one is from November! :)
One of my favorite things about Mexican restaurants, other than the chips and salsa, is the rice. Usually rice and beans are served with your entree and people tend to push them to the side. Not me. I always ask to substitute the beans with extra rice, and if I don't eat the rice at the restaurant, I will take it home. I love that it's, for lack of a better word, dry - meaning that it's not saucy but still very flavorful. I've never really tried to make Mexican rice at home (other than Rice-a-Roni!) so I decided to give it a shot, especially since this recipe is originally from Cook's Illustrated. I was a little nervous during the cooking process that there would be too much liquid, but that wasn't the case at all. The end result was a rice that rivals the best Mexican restaurant!
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 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges for serving
Preheat oven to 350F and move a rack to the middle position.
1. 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 to a liquid measuring cup; you should have 2 cups. If necessary, spoon off excess or add water so that the volume equals 2 cups.
2. 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 a strainer to remove all excess water.
3. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed oven-safe Dutch oven or straight-sided saute 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.
4. Stir in pureed tomatoes and onions, chicken broth, tomato paste, and salt; increase heat to medium-hight and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven; bake until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring well after 15 minutes.
5. Stir in cilantro, if desired, and serve with lime wedges.
Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Cook's Illustrated.