Let me introduce you to my new favorite version of Spanish rice (or otherwise known as Mexican rice). So often when I have this side dish at a restaurant I find it lacking in flavor. But when you make it at home? You have complete control.
Now, I am by no means saying this version is authentic, but it sure does make an excellent side to any sort of Mexican fare. It is full of diced vegetables, like onion, carrot, pepper and corn. However, you can easily customize the veggies to your taste. Don’t like peas? Leave them out. Want a little more kick? Add in a jalapeno. There are also plenty of spices and a good amount of tomato flavor in the mix, making this rice anything but bland.
One of the best parts about this rice is that once you have it going and all the ingredients are added to the skillet, it is very hands-off. You can let the rice simmer gently (and then rest after cooking) while you take care of your main dish.
One of the key components of this recipe is lightly browning the rice in the skillet before you add the cooking liquid. You want to make sure you keep an eye on the rice and do not walk away during this process. You’ll need to stir fairly often at first, and then almost constantly toward the end so that it browns evenly and doesn’t burn.
When the rice is cooking in the liquid, you also want to make sure that it is gently simmering. Otherwise, if you have the heat going too strong, the rice will absorb the liquid too fast and will not be fully cooked.
And lastly, make sure you don’t skip the step to let the rice sit covered with the heat off after it’s finished cooking. This rest time helps give it the perfect texture.
*Measure out the 1 cup from a can of crushed tomatoes. You can refrigerate or freeze the rest for another use.
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