Monday, March 23, 2009

Spanish Rice

For years I've bought packages of spanish rice and made them from the box when I'm cooking Mexican food. I've had favorites over the years (the Farmhouse brand one that was discontinued, the Near East one) but one day I decided that a) it can't be that hard to make myself, b) I wasn't sure about what was in those little seasoning packets, and c) it's probably a lot cheaper.

I've made this three or four times in the last couple of months and it's been a big hit. The first time I made it with regular old white rice and since then I've made it with brown rice. I'll tell you how to make it either way and some ways to spice it up a bit.

Spanish Rice (4 servings)

1 cup white or brown rice
1 T canola oil
1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can of diced green chiles (or jalapenos)
1 onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups water

Saute the onion, bell pepper, and rice in a deep skillet until the onion is soft and the rice is just starting to turn brown. Add the rest of the ingredients (don't drain the can of tomatoes and can of chiles) and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer, covered until the liquid is absorbed. For white rice: cooking time will be about 30 minutes. For brown rice: cooking time will be between 50 minutes and 1:15. Tonight I tripled the recipe using brown rice and let it cook for about an hour and a half.

For spicier rice: Add cayenne and red pepper flakes with the rest of the spices and/or substitute jalapenos for the green chiles.

I think a nice finishing touch is stirring in some chopped cilantro when you're ready to serve it.

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