Friday, February 10, 2012

Mexican Rice - Not Soggy, Just Right

     I absolutely love Mexican food. When I was pregnant with Kylie, we ate at Mexican Inn Cafe in Fort Worth at least twice a week. It got so bad that when we walked in, they sat us and just brought us our food and drinks without asking what we wanted. Yeah, we had it bad.      In Grandview, there is a fantastic Mexican Food restaurant called El Campesino. If you are ever in this area, you must try it. With four kids, it's hard to get out to eat as often as we used to, so now I try to recreate our favorite dishes. Plus, it's thrilling when we have leftovers (rare, though it is) because then I get a yummy lunch the next day.
     I've never been able to make the rice like the restaurants. It always came out bland and soggy. Too much like plain white rice at a buffet that had been sitting out all day. Yuck. But my friend and next door neighbor, Ginger, saved me and taught me the secrets to Mexican rice. And now I'll show you. Let the circle of love begin.

      Start with two medium saucepans. In the first pan, lightly cover the bottom with vegetable oil. Turn your burner on medium to warm up the oil.

      In the second pan, throw in three cubes chicken and tomato bouillon cubes and one packet of Sazon Goya's Con Culantro y Achiote seasoning. Then add seven cups of water. If you have chicken broth, you can use chicken broth instead of the water. (Whenever I boil whole chickens, I always save the broth. There are so many great things to do with it.) Bring it slowly to a boil.

      When pan #1's oil is warm (it shimmers), add three cups of plain white rice. With a wooden spoon, mix the rice and the oil. The idea is to coat the rice with the oil and toast the rice. Take a 1/4 onion, sliced, and throw it in with the rice. You won't be sauteing the onion, it will be releasing its flavor on to the rice.

Stir the rice and onion until all of the rice is browned. You don't want it to be a real dark brown, but a nice tan is good.

     Once the rice is browned, pour your boiling liquid into the rice.  If you want the fancy rice, add two small cans of drained mixed peas and carrots.

      Let it boil until the rice is cooked, you'll know because the rice will be plumper and close to the surface of the liquid. You'll still have a lot of liquid, but you'll be seeing the rice.

     Turn the heat down to low and cover. Cook it until all the liquid is absorbed.

Now serve it with some tamales, tacos, enchiladas, nachos, chicken fried steak, roast beef.... yeah, I could do this all day.

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