Mexican Red Tomato Rice with Roasted Chicken

For this month's Chef Spotlight Dinner where we are highlighting Chef Rick Bayless, I prepared this dish. It's a great side dish that includes grilled tomatoes for a nice hint of smoky flavor. I also added some roasted chicken as well!

Mexican Red Tomato Rice with Roasted Chicken
recipe from Rick Bayless

1 (15-oz.) can whole tomatoes, drained
1/2 small white onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, halved
1-3/4 cups chicken broth or water
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 whole tomatoes, unpeeled
1-1/2 cups rice (medium-grain)
2 carrots, scraped, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
3 serrano chilies or 2 jalapenos, slit lengthwise nearly end to end
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 of a 10-oz. box frozen peas
Cooked roasted chicken

In blender or food processor, combine canned tomatoes with onion and garlic. You may add tomato juices to the measure of chicken broth or water. Blend tomatoes smooth to equal a generous 1 cup. Heat broth or water until steaming; season with salt. Lightly oil tomatoes. Grill the tomatoes to char their skins. When cool, remove most of the peel and roughly chop; set aside.

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add raw rice to hot oil and stir regularly during a cooking period of 5 minutes. If some rice kernels start to brown, that's fine. Add tomato mixture and carrots. Stir a couple times, then let cook until reduced and somewhat dry-looking, 3 minutes.

Add the warm broth or water, the chilies and parsley; stir thoroughly and scrape down any rice kernels clinging to the side of the pan. Cover pan with lid and place on a range burner, or if pan is appropriate, place on cooking grate of charcoal or gas grill (indirect, medium heat).

Cook for 15 minutes or until almost all liquid is absorbed. Add peas and grilled tomatoes, stirring with a fork. Cover pan and cook 5 additional minutes.

Gently fluff the rice with a fork when done. Remove the chilies or pull out and use to decorate the top of the rice, and serve.

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