Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mexican Rice

When it comes to sides, our fall back is rice. We love rice and thankfully, many cultures embrace rice in their cuisine. To accompany the Chicken Fajitas I made recently, I looked for a Mexican Rice recipe to try. This rice came out fluffy and really complimented our fajitas well. I especially liked how quick it was to put together. I added some vegetables to the original recipe for color and to make it heartier. So this is a side dish that everyone in the family can enjoy!

The key to making Mexican rice is toasting the rice before it cooks with liquid. Doing so tends to bring out a depth of flavor and allows the rice to bloom as it cooks. For this recipe, I sautéed onions, garlic and bell peppers until softened before introducing the rice. Having the vegetables in first ensures that they are completely tender once it's all done.

Once the rice is added, it's important to toast it as long as possible without browning or burning. You'll notice a nice nutty aroma as it toasts. At that point, the liquid is added and for this recipe, tomato sauce and chicken broth is used. Cook the rice as noted and once it's done, fold in the frozen corn and peas. The residual heat of the dish will automatically heat them up and it's ready to eat once warmed through!

Mexican Rice
recipe adapted from AllRecipes

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 1/3 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2/3 cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup frozen peas
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté onions, garlic and bell peppers until softened.

Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until toasted and golden. Add the garlic powder, salt, cumin, and tomato sauce. Stir until all the rice is coated.

Add the chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and add frozen corn and peas. Fold in and cover for 3 minutes until warmed through. Fluff with a fork before serving.