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Mexican Rice

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Recipe adopted from theKitchn.  [Recipe makes 6 to 8 servings].

I've attempted Mexican rice in the past, but it was never anything close to what I crave from great Mexican restaurants.  Some batches were overcooked, resulting in a sticky mess.  Some batches burned on the bottom, giving the dish an unforgiving charcoal scent.  And some batches just didn't have the flavor that I was going for.  Well, I'm proud to announce that this recipe delivers on all levels, just as it promises.  Using the techniques described below, you end up with rice that is perfectly cooked, perfectly flavored, and best of all, rice that doesn't stick to the bottom of your pan!  Enjoy as a side dish to virtually any Mexican main course, or as a tasty filler to a personalized burrito.

INGREDIENTS:

1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 medium white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup canola oil
2 cups long grain white rice (not instant)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
Juice from 2 limes

Additional cilantro and lime wedges, for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Add the whole peeled tomatoes and onion to a food processor, and process until smooth.  Transfer 2 cups of the purée to a sauce pan and reserve the rest for another use (or freeze for another future batch).  Add the chicken stock, salt, and cumin to the sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  In a large Dutch oven or similar heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add the rice and stir until lightly toasted, roughly 8 minutes.  If you feel the pot is too hot, reduce to medium heat.  Next, add the jalapeño and cook for 2 minutes.  Last, add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.

Carefully add the tomato mixture to the rice and stir to combine.  [Side note:  The sauce will splatter quite a bit initially, but will die down after a minute].  Cover and reduce the heat to low.  Cook for 15 minutes, or until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.  After 15 minutes, stir, and recover.  Let the rice rest off the heat for 10 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked.  Right before serving, add the cilantro and lime juice.  Garnish with additional cilantro and lime wedges.

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