Spanish Rice, also called Mexican rice or arroz rojo, is a popular side dish in Mexico. I don’t know why it is called Spanish rice. Spanish it is not. Rice dishes in Spain are usually yellow because they have saffron in them. Mexican rice is red because it is often cooked with tomato paste. I used taco sauce instead. Taco sauce has a bolder flavor and can be used to add variety. You can use spicy sauce or chunky sauce, depending upon your preference. I usually enjoy spicy food, but I make this mild because I use it as a backdrop for other dishes. Serve Spanish Rice with tacos or burritos. You can also top this dish with black beans to make a complete meal.
You can make this vegetarian by using veggie broth as your liquid.
Servings: 3 cups of rice, serves 4-6
Hardware: A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a strainer (sieve,) a pot with a lid, a wooden spoon, and a fork
Time: Active time 15 minutes; Cook: 25 minutes, rice in about 40 minutes
- 4+1 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion (4 ounces)
- 1 medium tomato (8 ounces)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup of your favorite taco sauce
- ¾ cups liquid (water, chicken broth or veggie broth)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- Long grain white rice
- 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro (optional)
- Rinse the rice in the sieve until the water runs clear.
- Dice the onion. Seed and chop the tomato, mince the garlic. Set aside.
- In the pot with the lid, melt four tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and cumin. Sauté until the aromatics become translucent. Watch them and stir often because you don’t want them to burn.
- Add the rice to the butter and stir until the rice begins to toast and the edges begin to turn brown (about two minutes.)
- Stir in the tomato, liquid, taco sauce and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
- Stir. Turn the rice down to simmer and cover with the lid. Simmer for exactly 18 minutes. Remove from the heat, but do not remove the lid. Allow the rice to rest for 10 minutes. It is still cooking so it is important to leave it alone.
- Remove the bay leaves. Using a fork, fluff the rice with the extra butter. Add the cilantro if you are using it. Taste and adjust the salt. Serve warm.