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MEXICAN RICE

America's Test Kitchen Live!, Cook’s Illustrated magazine

Serves 6 to 8 as side dish

Because the spiciness of jalapenos varies from chile to chile, we try to control the heat by removing the ribs and seeds (the source of most of the heat) from those chiles that are cooked into the rice. It is important to use an ovensafe pot about 12 inches in diameter so that the rice cooks evenly and in the time indicated. The pot's depth is less important than its diameter; we've successfully used both a straight-sided saute pan and a Dutch oven. Whichever type of pot you use, it should have a tight-fitting, ovensafe lid. Vegetable broth can be substituted for the chicken broth.

• 2 medium ripe tomatoes (about 12 ounces), cored and quartered
• 1 medium onion, preferably white, peeled, trimmed of root end, and quartered
• 3 medium jalapeno chiles
• 2 cups long-grain white rice
• 1/3 cup canola oil
• 4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
• 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
• 1 lime, cut into wedges for serving

Directions
1.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Process the tomatoes and onion in a food processor until smooth and thoroughly pureed, about 15 seconds, scraping down the bowl if necessary. Transfer the mixture to a liquid measuring cup; you should have 2 cups (if necessary, spoon off excess so that the volume equals 2 cups). Remove the ribs and seeds from 2 jalapenos and discard; mince the flesh and set aside. Mince the remaining jalapeno, including the ribs and seeds; set aside.

2. Place the rice in a large fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear, about l 1/2 minutes. Shake the rice vigorously in the strainer to remove all excess water.

3. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed straight-sided 12-inch ovenproof saute pan or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Drop 3 or 4 grains of rice into the oil; if the grains sizzle, the oil is ready. Add the rice and fry, stirring frequently, until the rice is light golden and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and seeded minced jalapenos, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomato mixture, chicken broth, tomato paste, and salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Bake until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring well after 15 minutes.

4. Stir in the cilantro and reserved minced jalapeiio with seeds to taste. Serve immediately, passing the lime wedges separately.
 

 

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