Whether you're making it at home or visiting your favorite local Mexican restaurant, one side dish that's synonymous with Mexican meals is rice. Spanish rice, traditionally made with tomatoes and peppers, is packed with flavor and makes a fantastic accompaniment to dishes known for their big flavors. If you have always enjoyed the flavor of Spanish rice but didn't know how to reproduce it yourself, this is the article for you. Here's a look at what you need to know to produce a Spanish rice dish that's packed with Mexican spices and bold flavors.
Gather Your Ingredients
The first step to a great Spanish rice is to start with great ingredients.
- 4 tablespoons of salted butter
- 2 cups dry instant rice
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup of beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Open the can of tomatoes, but don't drain them. You'll want that canning liquid to help saturate the tomato flavor into the rice. When you seed and dice the jalapeno, consider wearing plastic disposable gloves to protect your skin and reduce the risk of spreading pepper into your eyes. Dice up all of the vegetables ahead of time so that you're ready to put everything in the pan as you reach the proper stage for the addition.
Making the Rice
You'll want to use a Dutch oven or other large pot for your rice, because the thick base of these types of pots holds heat more evenly. This may help reduce the risk of burning the rice if you get distracted and forget to stir. It also gives you lots of room for the broth to bubble and help cook the rice.
Put the butter into the pot over medium heat. Let the butter melt, then add the rice and stir it around until it starts to toast. Then, add the onion, peppers and garlic. Stir the mixture constantly so that the garlic doesn't burn. You'll want to cook these things together for about five minutes.
Then, add the can of tomatoes, liquid included. Stir it well to coat everything in the pan. Slowly add the beef broth, stirring thoroughly. Drop in the bay leaf, then add the chili powder, sugar and black pepper. If you used a low-sodium broth, add the salt. If not, taste the broth to see if it's salty enough or if it needs a bit of salt. Add it if necessary.
Bring the whole mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Then, cover the pot and lower the heat to medium-low. Let the rice simmer until it's cooked through and the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Modifications and Serving Suggestions
Spanish rice is a versatile base for many things. Create an entire meal out of the dish by adding cooked chorizo or smoked sausage and a half-cup of frozen corn kernels about 5 minutes before the rice is done.
You can also serve this without any mix-ins and just top it with a bit of Colby jack cheese. The creamy texture of the melted cheese adds a mild flavor.
As you can see, it's easy to make a great Spanish rice dish at home that's sure to rival your favorite Mexican restaurant in Tucson Arizona. If you're not comfortable making dishes like this in your own kitchen, most Mexican restaurants not only offer take-out, but also do event catering, so you can have a flavorful Mexican meal for your family reunion or other gathering.