Mexican Rice

I think that Mexican meals can be some of the hardest to plan.  Of course, most people love Mexican food, myself included – spicy hot food with melted cheese, warm tortillas, yummy beans and peppers – what’s not to love?  Aside from chips and salsa, I usually have a hard time thinking of what else to serve as side dishes.  I am crazy about the standard refried beans and rice served on the side of almost every entree in a Mexican restaurant.  However, I had never found a recipe for making Mexican rice at home that even came close to what I was looking for…until now.  This version is exactly the right side for a wonderful Mexican meal.  I served it with refried beans as well and felt like I was in a restaurant!  I will be making this again and again and again.  I think the tomato and onion puree used in cooking the rice really helps impart both color and flavor to the rice.  It may seem like a fair amount of work for a side dish (or at least quite a few dishes) but it is definitely worth it, in my opinion.

Recipe Rewind: tried and true favorites I’ve made recently
Roasted Tomato Soup 

Mexican Rice
2 ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 medium white onion, peeled, trimmed and quartered
2 cups long grain white rice
1/3 cup canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
3 medium jalapenos, ribbed, seeded and minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and move a rack to the middle position.  Process tomatoes and onions in the food processor until smooth and thoroughly pureed, about 15 seconds, scraping down the bowl if necessary.  Transfer the mixture a liquid measuring cup; you should have 2 cups (if necessary, spoon off excess or add water so that the volume equals 2 cups).   

Place the rice in a large fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Shake rice vigorously in strainer to remove all excess water.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed oven-safe Dutch oven or straight-sided sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the rice and fry, stirring frequently, until it is golden and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium; add the garlic and minced jalapenos; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Stir in pureed tomatoes and onions, chicken broth, tomato paste and salt; increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Cover the pan an transfer to the oven; bake until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring well after 15 minutes.

Stir in cilantro (if desired) and serve with lime wedges.  

Source: adapted from Dinner and Dessert, originally from Cook’s Illustrated, September 2004

27 Responses

  1. This looks really good! I love Mexican food and over the past year have tried to find different dishes – not your typical enchiladas, tacos, etc. I have a ton of non-Americanized, more traditoinal Mexican recipes in my blog if you ever need ideas!

  2. ¡Olé! 😀

  3. I’ve been searching for a Mexican rice recipe that my family loves. I’ll have to give this one a try!

  4. Delicious! Now I’m craving refried beans and homemade tortillas. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This looks just like the rice my favorite Mexican place serves! yum!

  6. I’m so glad you liked it! I’m actually making it for dinner tonight 🙂

  7. awwww, this is awesome-annie! i have been looking for an organic/natural way to do this and i think i can with this recipe. thanks for sharing!

  8. This looks wonderful!!! 🙂

  9. I love the CI recipe for Mexican Rice – its perfect every time!

  10. We had fajitas last night, I wish we would of made this rice to go with! Next time!

  11. I love Mexican Rice. Your recipe looks fab.

  12. […] Mexican Rice I think that Mexican meals can be some of the hardest to plan.  Of course, most people love Mexican food, myself […] […]

  13. Totally what I have been looking for.

    Got a good refried bean recipe?

    • Not yet! I haven’t tried to make these myself yet – opening the can is just so easy 🙂 I do plan to give it a shot though, and Pioneer Woman’s recipe will be the one I try because she hasn’t steered me wrong yet. So I would start there!
      🙂 Annie

  14. How many servings in this recipe?

  15. That mexican rice looks good.

  16. […] food with 2 extra sides of rice and then forget about my entrée. I snagged this recipe from Annie’s Eats, where it was co-opted from Dinner and Dessert, who found it in the September 2004 issue of […]

  17. […] הארה של ממש, אם כי לא מפתיעה במיוחד, בהתחשב במתכון הזה, שיושב כבר כמה חודשים ומחכה שאנסה […]

  18. I made this-it was great! Thanks for the recipe

  19. I am so excited to find your website! Everything looks so delicious, and it’s all my favorite foods. Do you have a cookbook out? Can’t wait to start trying your recipes.

    New West Gal

    • Hi Linda,
      Glad you like the blog! I don’t have a cookbook out, but maybe someday. That would be a dream come true!

  20. I made the rice and chicken fajitas last night. They were a big hit with little remaining for today. I am glad I found your site and will be using more recipes. Thanks.

  21. Ok, so I tried to make this again last night with ripe summer tomatoes, and the recipe came out amazing this time around. I’m going to edit my blog post on Friday, since the recipe worked 🙂 . Totally have no idea what went wrong the first time, but it SO was not bland this time! 🙂

    • Yay! Glad it worked out this time 🙂 I make it all the time and it’s always good, so hopefully that was just a fluke!

  22. Just made this last night. It was great ~ tons of flavor. Love your site 🙂

  23. I’ve never made Mexican rice before and searched the web for the recipes and landed on yours. Annie the rice was absolutely delicious. Thank you for the recipe.

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