1 (14.5 oz. ) can tomatoes (you will some or all of use the tomatoes only, no juice)
1/2 of a medium white onion, chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced
1 cup long grain white rice
2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth (I use water and bouillon paste, only because I rarely keep chicken broth in the pantry.)
3/4 teaspoon salt
Place rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear- about 1 1/2 minutes.
This step removes the starch from the rice so it will not stick.
IF YOU OMIT THIS STEP YOUR RICE WILL NOT BE DRY AND FLUFFY.
Shake rice vigorously to remove excess water.
TIP: Water tends to hold in the mesh of the sieve, so wiping the bottom of the sieve with a rag helps in removing excess moisture.
Let sit to dry while preparing other steps.
Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pulse tomato and onion in processor or blender until smooth.
Transfer mixture to measuring cup and reserve exactly 1 cup.
If you have more than a cup, discard the excess.
If you don't have a cup, add more tomato if you have some left in the can.
If you don't have more tomatoes left in the can, make up the difference with jarred salsa.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven with tight fitting lid over low-medium heat about 2 minutes.
Drop a few rice grains in and if they sizzle then it is ready.
Add rice and fry, stirring, until rice is light golden and translucent, about 6-8 minutes.
Be careful that the oil doesn't get too hot too fast or the oil will splatter.
Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and minced jalapeno and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Stir in broth, pureed tomato mixture, and salt.
Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil.
Cover pan and transfer pan to oven to bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30-35 minutes.
Stir well, but gently, after 15 minutes, then finish baking another 15-20 minutes.
Use the jalapeno. Don't worry; it doesn't make the rice hot.
You'll notice a discrepancy in the heat level between browning the rice and adding the garlic and jalapeno, starting out at low-medium, then the recipe says to reduce heat to medium. Not sure how to correct that, but I just do what I need to do to get it right and not burn the garlic.
I think any good-quality canned tomatoes will do. Petite diced are nice. Tonight I used stewed tomatoes, pulling out the tomatoes only, leaving the celery and bell peppers in the can. It's all good.
I think it was Barb who was asking for a good Mexican rice recipe years ago. If she were still here, I believe she would find this to be just what she was looking for.
I used to think I liked our local restaurant's rice until I discovered this recipe. Now, when we order take-out, I specify all beans and no rice, because I make the rice at home--much better and more of it!
And, leftovers freeze well. Kudos!
Adapted from http://mexican.food.com/recipe/mexican-rice-117892 at Food.com