Mexican food normally appears on our table in some way or form about twice a week. Whether I am serving a simple quesadilla or making a big batch of tamales, I am always in need of a tasty side dish. This rice is a favorite for filling the side dish role.
The original recipe called for fresh tomatoes, but I cannot rely on the ripeness of tomatoes in the Midwest year-round. Quality canned tomatoes make for an excellent substitute. The recipe also baked the rice in the oven, but cooking rice on the stove-top is quicker and yields the same result. Once the rice is tender and fluffy, it is seasoned with fresh jalapenos to taste, cilantro, and a good squeeze of fresh lime. This is a flavorful dish that will nicely round out any Mexican meal.
Mexican Red Rice
1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 medium white onion, peeled and quartered
3 jalapeño chiles, ribs and seeds removed, minced
2 cups long-grain white rice
3 Tablespoons canola oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 to 2 limes, cut into wedges for serving
Process tomatoes and onion in the bowl of a food processor until smooth, about 15 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Transfer mixture to a liquid measuring cup; you should have 2 cups. If necessary, spoon off excess so that the volume equals 2 cups.
Place rice in a large fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear, about 1 minute. Shake rice vigorously in sieve to remove excess water.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight fitting lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the rice and fry, stirring frequently, until rice is light golden and translucent, about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add garlic and half of the minced jalapenos; cook stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato and onion puree, chicken broth, tomato paste, and salt, stirring until thoroughly combined. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover, and fluff the rice with a fork. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Stir in the cilantro and remaining jalapenos to taste. Serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, September 2004