Most Mexican restaurant entree’s include rice and beans. The rice is a quintessential side dish which uses tomatoes and various herbs (garlic, cumin, cilantro) to lightly season the rice. Sometime, however, the rice includes jalapeno and can be quite spicy.
In our house Mexican rice is a more robust dish. We use herbs and spices liberally and it is much more than a side dish. We use it for breakfast rice and eggs, we add black or pinto beans and use it as an entree, we stuff it into green peppers and have been known to just sit down and eat it all by its self.
My grandkids asked me for my recipe recently and I realized I had never written down. I promised to do it. So Lauren and Kaitlyn, this is for you!
You will need 2-3 cups of cooked rice. I make brown rice in my rice cooker and when it is done I “add the Mexican” to it like this:
- Prep vegetable forsauteing by chopping into roughly equal sized pieces
- 1 onion
- 3 stalks of celery
- 1/2 or a large bell pepper
- hot pepper to taste ( you can use jalapeño, Serrano, Anaheim or Ortega as you prefer)
- In a large frying pan
- Heat 2 Tbsp of oil (olive, grapeseed, or peanut)
- When hot add vegetables from above plus garlic to taste
- When the onions begin to clarify add
- 2 cups of chopped tomatoes (roughly size of other vegetables) or 1 large can of diced tomatoes
- Optional: 1/2 can tomato paste
- Optional: Ortega pepper if use canned can be added here
- Salsa to cover the vegetable (either your own or a jar of your favorite brand – when I do this I use Herdez or Trader Joe’s green salsa)
- 1 Tbsp fresh Herbs (or 1 tsp dried herbs) use what you like from these choices: oregano, marjoram, cumin, cilantro and basil.
- Optional: Red pepper flakes to taste
- Simmer (with the lid off) for 10-15 minutes or until most of the liquid is evaporated
- Slowly add rice (about a half cup at a time) and stir into the liquid mixture until you reach the desired consistency. If you have too much liquid and not enough rice you can turn up the heat and stir constantly until the liquid evaporates.
- Simmer on very low for 5 minutes
Serve hot with extra garnish like cilantro, black olives, chopped green onion or chives.
This is an extremely forgiving recipe that can be adapted to be all fresh or to use some pre-prepared products if you wish. The leftover rice is useful as an entrée base when you add beans.