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"My" Mexican Rice

Sometimes, when I step back and take stock of what I've been sharing, I realize that I often forget to include our every day fare.  Maybe since we eat certain foods regularly, I simply neglect to talk about them.  Or I think that maybe I already did.  Whatever the case may be, I've decided to make sure I include some of our tried and true meals (or components) more often.  What better way to start than with my Mexican rice?  This is a side that we eat on average once a week.  Sometimes more...if the mood strikes.  It's so versatile, yet always delicious!  Everybody and their mothers has "their" version...but this is mine.  Sometimes I use fresh onion and garlic.  Other times... I don't.  I'd like to say that when I don't use them, it's because I'm out.  But come on.  It's pretty rare that I don't have both of those things in the kitchen.  More accurately, it's just when I'm feeling lazy.  But honestly, it turns out just as well when I use dried, minced onion and garlic powder.  So, you decide which way you want to go.  Also, if we're having a party or I want to dress it up a bit, I will add some peas and diced carrots or potatoes in...mainly for visual appeal.  But for everyday, I just...don't.  In the recipe, I say to use puréed canned tomato.  I use whatever type of canned tomato is in the house (whole, diced, stewed) and just throw it in the blender.  I take a cup of the liquid out to use...and save the rest in a jar in the fridge for next time.  When it comes to the herbs...I use dried parsley, thyme, and oregano most of the time...but in summer I'll switch 'em up for some fresh if I have 'em.  I pretty much just add the herbs and spices to taste.  I meant to measure last time I made some so that I could give you an idea, but my mind is like a sponge...a wrung-out sponge...and it slipped right through.  One of these times I'll remember and come back to add in approximate amounts.  But really, just use your senses...your own tastes...and you'll figure out the way you like it to taste.  Add a combo of all, or even just pick a few...heck, add something else, if you like.  You never know, this could become a favorite for your family, too.

"My" Mexican Rice
from the kitchen of girlichef
makes ~8 svgs.

olive oil
2 c. medium-grain rice
1 medium onion, diced (~2 handfuls)
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. puréed tomatoes
2 c. chicken stock

few dashes/sprinkles of all, to taste:
paprika
chili powder
oregano
thyme
parsley
cumin
salt
black pepper

if not using fresh onion and garlic:
dried, minced onion
garlic powder

Heat a couple of glugs of olive oil in a large skillet with deep sides over medium heat.  Once it begins to shimmer, add the onion and garlic (fresh, if using).  Sauté for a few minutes, until they begin to soften.  Pour in the rice and continue to sauté and stir until all of the grains are coated in the oil and begin to change to a milky color.  Watch closely and keep going until most of the grains turn golden and smell toasty.  Don't skip this part...toasting the rice is essential to the flavor!
Once the rice is well toasted, pour in the puréed tomatoes and chicken stock.  Add in any spices or herbs you are using.  If you didn't use fresh onion and garlic, then add the dried in at this point as well.  Raise heat and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat as low as it will go, and cook for ~15 minutes.   When you lift the lid, the rice should have absorbed all of the liquid, but not be splayed.  Stir to mix everything back together.  Enjoy!

If you like your Mexican rice with veggies such as peas, carrots, or potatoes...have a few handfuls of one or a combination, cut into small cubes (peas left as is), blanched, and kept warm.  When the rice is done cooking, stir the warm veggies in before serving.
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Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesdays