Arroz a la Mexicana (Perfect Mexican Rice)
Mexican rice with sure-fire recipe for perfectly cooked fluffy rice perfect for Cinco de Mayo or as a side to numerous Mexican mains.
italian plum (roma) tomatoes
large-ish size, cored and roughly chopped
fresh, up to four
long grain rice
peeled and roughly chopped
or chicken broth
depending on how salty your chicken stock is
Add the onions and tomatoes into a food processor. Process until well puréed.
Measure out 2 cups of tomato and onion purée and set aside.
Put the rice in a strainer and rinse thoroughly until the water runs completely clear. Drain rice as much as possible.
Remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeno peppers (a grapefruit spoon does a great job.
Slice the peppers into a fine dice. Set aside ¼ of the diced jalapeno pepers for adding once the rice finished cooking. If you like extra spicy add some of the membrane and seeds from the jalapeno peppers. Use the rest for adding to the rice.
Preheat your oven to 350℉ (180℃) F, 325F for a convention oven.
In a large wide high sided oven-safe sauté pan (with a tight fitting lid) or an oven-safe pot with lid (a dutch oven works well make sure to adjust the racks in your oven to accomodate).
Heat the oil over medium-high heat for a minute or two, you want to get the oil hot.
To test if the oil is ready, add a few kernels of rice, if they're sizzling nicely the oil is hot enough.
Add the rice, stirring thoroughly to coat all of the rice. Continue stirring and cooking for 8 minutes, or until the rice has begun to lightly brown and it well toasted. This will develop a nice roasted flavor.
Add the jalapeno peppers, sauté for a minute. Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the tomato and onion mixture. Stir together.
Add the vegetable or chicken stock, the tomato paste and salt to taste.
Bring to a boil, give it a few stirs now then.
Cover tightly and place the whole pot in the oven. Cooking rice in the oven guarantees perfectly cooked fluffy rice and completely avoids any risk of scorching the rice.
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir and return for another 15 minutes.
Make sure you are careful the pot handle will be hot. The reason for this extra step is to mix any of the tomato mixture that will rise to the top and ensure perfectly evenly cooked rice.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the remaining jalapeno peppers (add seeds for extra spice) and the fresh chopped cilantro.
Serve with wedges of lime.
Refrigerates well keeping for several days if tightly covered and is quick and easy to reheat in the microwave. Prepare this rice on the weekend and it provides a side dish for meals later in the week.