Red rice is the typical accompaniment at most Mexican restaurants. This dish is the standard by which I often judge Mexican restaurants – everybody makes it but few do it well. It’s often overcooked and bland. So if you eat a big forkful of rice and think to yourself, “That’s yummy,” you’ve found a good spot! Not to digress from our recipe but I love when Mexican restaurants serve that golden rice pilaf with corn. It’s so savory then you get that sweet corn crunch. Yum! If you’ve ever eaten at a Cozymel’s, you know the dish I’m talking about. I was so disappointed when the one closed near where I grew up – no more of my favorite Mexican rice, or their wonderful homemade tortillas. If you are also a fan of this version of Mexican rice, you should check out our Mexican White Rice Pilaf recipe. Anyhow, back to our equally delicious red rice… With this recipe, adapted from Rick Bayless, you can make your own red rice at home. And I’d be willing to bet it beats any red rice you’ve had at Mexican restaurants. It will definitely outshine anything from a box. Made from scratch, this rice tastes fresh and flavorful. Plus by toasting the rice before adding the liquid, you get a great texture!
Mexican Red Rice Pilaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
1 tbsp. Canola or Vegetable Oil
1/2 c. Rice
1/2 Onion, finely diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 canned San Marzano Tomatoes, pureed
3/4 c. Chicken Broth
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. Salt (1/4 if using regular broth, 1/2 if using low-sodium)
1/2 Carrot, diced
1/2 c. Corn
1. Combine the oil, rice, and onion in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Once the mixture begins to sizzle, cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should be starting to look golden and toasted. Then add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes, continuing to stir. Make sure to keep an eye on it so you don’t burn the garlic. 2. Stir in the tomato puree and cook for one more minute. If you have good quality tomatoes, you can substitute peeled fresh tomatoes for the San Marzanos. Unfortunately good tomatoes are hard to come by in Juneau… plus San Marzanos are just so good.
3. Add the broth (cooking rice with broth gives it so much more flavor!) and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes. 4. Mix in your carrot, put the lid back on, and cook 5 more minutes. 5. Next, stir in the corn, recover, and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes. 5. Fluff the rice and serve alongside your favorite Mexican dish. I like to serve this rice with a dish that doesn’t already have a lot of tomato – tacos or fajitas made with our Mexican Citrus Marinade, Blackened Tofu Tacos, Green Citrus Chicken Enchiladas, or Chipotle Stout Braised Beef. If I’m making a tomato-y main dish (like our delicious Chicken Tinga Tacos), I go with Mexican White Rice Pilaf, instead.