I think Mexican rice is usually too dry and has little flavor. However, this rice proved it doesn’t have to be. This is a great side dish to any Mexican-inspired meal, and Corrie was a big fan. Initially I was on the fence, but the extra lime juice at the end really made this a success for me, so don’t skip it!
- 12 ounces ripe tomatoes, chopped into chunks (I ended up using 1/2 a fresh tomato and half canned, because the fresh I had wasn’t enough!) Note that you only need 2 cups of combined tomato and onion so don’t go overboard.
- 1 medium white onion, chopped into chunks
- 1-2 medium jalapeños depending on your spiciness preference (I used 1 very large jalapeno)
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups chicken broth (or I would assume you could make this vegetarian using water or a mix of water and vegetable broth)
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste (can be omitted if using canned tomatoes)
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
- Lime for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (oven rack in middle position).
Puree tomato and onion in a food processor or blender until completely smooth. Measure out 2 cups and discard any remaining. Discard the ribs and seeds from the jalapeños, then mince the jalapeños.
**IMPORTANT STEP; DO NOT OMIT.** In order to remove the starch from the rice (so that it doesn’t stick and is fluffy), rinse rice in a fine mesh strainer under cold running water until water runs clear (approx. 1 1/2 min.). Shake rice vigorously to remove excess water.
Heat oil in heavy bottomed oven safe 12-inch straight-sided saute pan or Dutch oven with tight fitting lid over medium-high heat about 2 minutes. Drop a few rice grains in and if they sizzle then it is ready. Add rice and fry stirring until rice is light golden and translucent, about 6-8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and jalapeños. Stir constantly until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes. Then, add the puree, broth, tomato paste, (if using) and salt. Raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
Once it reaches a boil, cover pot and transfer to the oven to bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30-35 minutes. Stir well after 15 minutes.
Add in cilantro and more jalapeño if desired. Serve with a wedge of lime.