Naomi says: I LOVE MEXICAN RICE. No, I mean I REALLY LOVE MEXICAN RICE!
It used to frustrate me because, while I could learn how to make EVERY other Mexican dish, including tamales, I could never figure out how the restaurants made their rice. I would try and try and each recipe that I tried was that nasty wet rice that couldn't even remotely compare to the restaurants.
One day, I just got fed up and went on a long and exhaustive search and found a site called Center Cut Cook. She had a recipe that called for an extra step-the washing of the rice. Also, the rice was baked versus simmered, so I was intrigued. I ran out and immediately purchased every ingredient that was called for and prepared it. I followed each step to a “T”. At first, I was disappointed. It looked exactly the same as my rices before. I then put it in the oven. With each stir required by the recipe, I found myself becoming more and more excited. IT WAS TURNING OUT JUST LIKE THE RESTAURANT STYLE.
I was giddy as a school girl. As I have made this more and more, I have found just how magical this recipe is. It freezes well. The sauce freezes well, so it is actually enough sauce for 2 batches. This is now my standard Mexican rice recipe.
One very special note, it is imperative that the rice be washed. DO NOT SKIMP ON THIS STEP. You will pay in the end!
So, on that note, here we go!
1 (24oz) can whole, peeled tomatoes drained.
1 yellow onion, quartered
2 jalapenos, chopped finely (seeds/ribs removed)
2 cups long grain white rice
1/3 cup canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1.5 t. salt
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 t. cumin
lime wedges for garnish
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2) In a blender combine tomatoes and onion until smooth. Pour 2 cups into a measuring cup and set aside. Freeze or discard remaining two cups.
3) In a fine strainer, rinse rice in warm water. Do not skimp on this step and do it for a good 3-4 minutes! DO NOT OMIT THIS STEP! Allow rice to drain and dry slightly.
4) In an ovenproof pan, heat the canola oil. When hot and shimmery, add the rice and fry for about 10 minutes or until the rice turns a golden brown. Don't allow it to burn!
5) Add in jalapenos and garlic and fry a couple of minutes longer.
6) Stir in broth, the 2 cups of set aside tomato/onion mixture, salt and cumin. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
7) Cover the pan and place in oven.
8) Every 10 minutes, remove from oven and stir. Do this for 35-40 minutes total.
9) When done, add in cilantro and stir. Garnish with lime and serve immediately!