Mexican Rice

This is another one of those recipes that I make over and over again because my family can't get enough of it! It tastes like the rice that is served at your favorite Mexican place. Enjoy!

***I have made some changes from the original recipe (I copied and pasted it here and then made my changes) so if something doesn't make sense, please let me know and I will clarify!***

SERVES 8 -10

12 ounces tomatoes, very ripe and cored
1 medium white onion
1 can chilies
2 cups long grain white rice
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 minced garlic cloves
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt


1 Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350.
2 Process tomato, onion, chilies, and tomato paste in processor or blender until pureed and thoroughly smooth.
3 Place rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear- about 1 1/2 minutes. Shake rice vigorously to remove excess water. This step removes the starch from the rice so it will not stick. IF YOU OMIT THIS STEP YOUR RICE WILL NOT BE DRY AND FLUFFY.
4 Heat oil in heavy bottomed oven safe 12 inch straight sided saute pan or Dutch oven with tight fitting lid over medium high heat about 2 minutes. (The recipe is very specific about this but I used a 10 inch dutch oven and it worked out fine.) Drop a few rice grains in and if they sizzle then it is ready. Add rice and fry stirring until rice is light golden and translucent, about 6-8 minutes.
5 Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and cook , stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes.
6 Stir in broth, pureed mixture and salt. Increase heat to medium high, and bring to a boil.
7 Cover pan and transfer pan to oven to bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30-35 minutes. Stir well after 15 minutes.

Tips and tricks!
If you can't get good, fresh tomatoes you are better off using canned tomatoes. Don't use those awful hard and under ripe tomatoes that are at most supermarket chains.

Do not skip any of the steps. It may seem stupid-but rinsing the rice to remove the starch is very important if you want fluffy rice. It will only take two minutes of your time but it makes the difference.

Leftovers are just as delicious the next day so this is a perfect dish to make ahead time for potlucks. This rice also freezes well. For Freezing Ahead: Cool, portion and freeze in a Ziploc bag. To reheat from frozen: Place in a Pyrex dish and warm in the microwave, stirring every 2-3 minutes until heated through.

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