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Mexican Rice

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When we moved to North Carolina, we were met with some odd foods.  Not going to lie.  People here eat things that I have never even contemplated eating.  For example, when we went to the convenience store to buy worms for fishing, the cashier asked us with complete seriousness, “You gonna’ fry these up for lunch or you gonna go fishin’?” 
I can’t even make this stuff up. 
We laughed, or course, thinking that this was his dry humor shinning through, but oh no!!!  He was serious.  It is evidently a treat around here, just like boiled peanuts.  (Boiled peanuts don’t taste good…at least not to us.)  People here are just…country

Even with all the liver pudding, pig feet, and fried worms, the south does offer really delicious food, too.  Don’t even get me started on their BBQ.   But, like with most places we’ve moved, no place has offered us good Tex-Mex.  Not Illinois, not Utah, and not North Carolina.  They offer it, of course, but it just isn’t the real deal.  Not like at home.
But like every good Texan girl, I know how to make my own fairly well.  And the very basics of Tex-Mex food is good ole Mexican rice.  Everyone in Texas has their own way of making it.  I even have two ways of making it, but I usually make it the way shown above because it is super fast and really tasty.  My other method calls for chopping tomatoes, straining tomatoes, yadda, yadda.
This recipe cuts down on all of that hoopla, while still tasting fresh, and really good.

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Mexican Rice
32 ounces of chicken broth (4 cups or one carton)
2 Cups of long grain rice
1 — 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1/2 of one medium yellow onion, diced (or one whole onion if you like)
1 small purple bell pepper, diced  (If you don’t have access to purple bell, then use whatever you have)
1 tsp of cumin
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Salt & Pepper to taste 
(I use a healthy dose of kosher salt & ground pepper—you know, the kind out of the tin canister)
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 Tablespoon of tomato paste (optional)  //I usually don’t use it//
//You’re more than welcome to add a little heat to this, but my kids do not like spicy foods yet, so I leave it out.  Add jalapenos, cayenne, or green chilies if you like//
In a Dutch oven or pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add your diced onion and bell pepper, and sauté for 5-10 minutes, or until soft. 
Now add your garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.  Now add your rice to the pot and stir it around for 5 minutes.
Pour in your can of tomatoes (Juice and all) along with your cumin, salt, and pepper.  Mix well. 
Now add your chicken broth.  Give it a good stir, and bring it up to a roaring boil.  Once it is boiling, turn down the heat to a low boil/simmer.  Cover the pot with the lid and let it cook for 20-30 minutes.  Stir often to prevent burning/sticking.    
This dish goes great with my Grilled Chicken Marinade.

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