Monday, May 5, 2014

Secret Ingredient Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice

This is just a quick recipe share in time for your Cinco De Mayo festivities.

I have been using the America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook religiously over the last year and half.  Some of my favorites in the book are in the "Enchiladas, Tacos and More" section.  They have several recipes for chicken, pork, ground beef and shredded beef fillings that I make big batches of and then freeze to use in enchiladas, tacos, and more.  So that's where they came up with the chapter title! ;-)

It wasn't until recently that I began paying attention to some of the notes below the slow cooker recipes.  There are tons of little gems in those notes, like additional recipes.  Score!  It's like a two for the price of one cookbook!  Anyway, I noticed a recipe for Mexican-Style Rice.  I have tried more times than I care to count to make a rice side dish that reminded me of the kind of rice you would get with your order at a good Mexican restaurant.  I have had success making cilantro-lime rice, but that beautifully fluffy and delicious rice studded with peppers always eluded me.  My versions always ended up either soupy and tasteless, with undercooked rice, or both.  Blech!

This recipe has a secret ingredient and a secret method that yields a huge pot of perfectly cooked, fluffy, delicious restaurant-style Mexican rice.  I wanted to share this with you to go with your Cinco De Mayo meals tonight!

Now, you may be wondering what the "secret" ingredient is in this rice.  It was a total "Duh!" moment for me, because my mother has been adding it to her chili for years, so I should have thought of it on my own.  In my past versions of Mexican rice, there is either too little tomato flavor from using fresh tomatoes, or too strong of a tomato flavor with gummy rice from using tomato sauce and/or paste.  The answer - I could have had a V8 (knocks self upside head)!  The perfect flavor was hiding in a can of vegetable juice.

And the secret method?  This bad boy gets thrown in the oven to cook!  *Mind Blown*

So here it is, without further adieu...

Secret Ingredient Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice
from where else...America's Test Kitchen
Printable Recipe

1/3 c. vegetable oil
2 c. long-grain rice
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. chicken stock
2 c. V8 100% Vegetable Juice (original)
1 tsp. kosher salt
Juice of 1/2 a lime (optional)
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a dutch oven set over medium heat, add vegetable.  Heat until shimmering, then add the rice.  Cook until it starts to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally in the beginning and then keep an eye on it and stir a little more frequently towards the end.

Add jalapenos and garlic, stirring for about 30 seconds.  Add chicken stock, V8 juice and salt.  Bring the mixture to a light boil, then cover the pot and put it in the preheated oven.

Cook for 15 minutes, then give it a good stir.  Put the lid back on the pot and cook for another 15 minutes in the oven.

Season rice with additional salt and pepper to taste, lime juice and cilantro.

Enjoy with enchiladas, tacos and more!

Happy Cinco De Mayo!