Tuesday, April 2, 2013

And Here It Is: The Best Mexican Rice Ever!

There are some foods that are perfect.  There are some foods that you love so much, that you could eat them anytime, anyplace, anywhere.  For me, Mexican rice and refried beans are that food.  It is comfort food at its best (yes, even more so than mac and cheese or meatloaf).  I want it when I'm sick.  I want it when I'm sad.  I want it all the time.  To me, it is the perfect meal.

For the past couple of years, I have been constantly learning how to make different types of Mexican food.  I've conquered refried beans (I don't fry them, I just blend them), I've conquered homemade corn tortillas (possibly the proudest moment of my life) and I make the most delicious salsa (thank you mom for that recipe).  However, Mexican rice was something I didn't even attempt.  I just assumed there was some sort of magical something about it, like you had to be pure of heart to make it, or you could only make it on the full moon.  Mexican rice was made with some sort of ancient Mexican secret, passed down through the generations, and skinny white girls like myself could never hope to recreate it.

Perhaps my overwhelming love and respect for Mexican rice blinded me to the fact that the internet can tell you how to do anything.  Even if there was some weird ritual that must be performed, the internet would tell me how to do it.  On a side note: I love the internet.  I used to think it was dumb, but now I realize how dumb I was to think that.  One quick google search, and the recipe for Mexican rice was found.  Actually, it was my husband who googled it.  I would never presume to google something so mysterious and wonderful.

Ok, Meredith, we get it.  You love Mexican rice.

Good news? I can now make my beloved Mexican rice at home.  With ingredients I almost always have around.  And you can too.

There aren't any magic words in this recipe, but a few elements did surprise me.  The rice is fried and then baked.  That explains the texture, which is unlike any other rice dish I've ever had.  You also use pureed tomatoes and onions as part of the cooking liquid, which explains the color.  This recipe makes the most delicious, aromatic, and perfect Mexican rice you have ever had.  I found it on food.com.  Thank you food.com

So here it is: Homemade Mexican Rice

You will need:

2 cups long grain white rice
1/3 cup canola oil
3 jalepenos
4 garlic cloves
2 cups chicken stock
1 medium onion
1 12 ounce can tomatos
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh limes for garnish
fresh cilantro for garnish

This recipe makes A TON of rice.  Which, for me, is a very good thing.

First, mince your garlic and mince 2 of your jalepenos.  The recipe calls for you to take out the seeds, but I didn't. I like a little heat.  But it's completely up to you.

Now, put your onion and canned tomatoes in the food processor and process until very smooth.  Transfer this mixture to a measuring cup.  You only need two cups of this mixture.  Any excess would be perfect for salsa or marinara, so don't throw it out.

Place rice in a colander and rinse until the water runs very clear.  Apparently, this step is really important.  I'm not sure why, but the recipe I used insisted that you do this.  So just do it.  You don't want to anger the Mexican rice gods.

Place a Dutch oven on the stove top.  Now, if you don't have a Dutch oven, that's ok.  Use a soup pot for the stove top cooking and then transfer to a covered baking dish for cooking in the oven.  Place canola oil in the bottom of the Dutch oven and turn the heat to medium high.  Drop a grain of rice into the oil and if it sizzles, it's ready.  Add rice to the oil and fry until slightly golden brown.  This takes about 8 to 10 minutes.   Then add the garlic and 2 jalepenos and turn the heat down to medium/low.  Saute for a few minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Now add the tomato mixture, chicken stock, and salt to the rice.  Turn up the heat and let this come to a boil.  Once it does, place the lid on the Dutch oven (or transfer to a baking dish and cover it) and put it in the oven.  Cook for 15 minutes, give it a stir, and then let it cook for another 15 to 20 minutes.  Stir in a big bunch of cilantro and your last jalepeno (minced of course).

And there you have it.  It was like a miracle when I pulled it out of the oven.  Like a newborn baby or a unicorn.

Garnish with a little lime juice.  I also like to top my Mexican rice with salsa.  So good.  Sometimes I add a bit of coleslaw mix as well (not coleslaw, just the cabbage and carrots that are chopped up in a bag).  I know this sounds weird, but it's really good.  It adds a little crunch.  And it makes me feel better about myself, as I shovel multiple helpings of this rice into my mouth.

Now go crazy!  Make fajitas! Make cheese dip!  Make burritos!  That stuff is easy.  You now have what was missing on Taco Night.  You're welcome.  


  1. Golly. I have no words.

    I have tried a hundred ways to do this. I thought that you had to use copious amounts of lard or mole or some other terrifying ingredient. (Noth that mole' is terrifying. I just don't really understand it.) And to be honest, I always tried it with brown rice (cause I'm SO healthy) and that never worked. I think perhaps the mexican rice gods do have to be involved for that to come off.

    Anyway, gonna make it this weekend. And gonna eat it.

    Thanks Starving Artist for making all of our dreams come true.