Monday, September 24, 2012

Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf

This rice recipe from Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday has become a standby for me.  I make it all the time (along with black beans) as an accompaniment to his meat dishes like Chicken Veracruzana and Yucatecan Pork.  In fact, I'm often happy just eating the beans and rice for a meal with just a little good salsa on top.  I don't think I've ever eaten anything like what we call Mexican Rice (you, know, the red rice cooked with tomato & some chiles) in Mexico, though I know there are areas where they do eat that.  So this is the rice side dish I choose.  I got a rice cooker only about a month ago, and I found that it worked just fine on the stove before that, but the benefit of the rice cooker is that it requires a little less checking, doesn't take up a burner on the stove, and keeps at a good temperature and consistency for a longer period of time so it's ready to eat whenever the rest of the food is, which is great for parties.  The original recipe actually calls for baking it in a 350 degree oven for 25 min, but I just cooked it in a covered pot on the stove like I would any rice, so I'll give those directions here. 

Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf 

Arroz Blanco

1 1/2 Tbs. vegetable or olive oil (I use canola)
1 1/2 cups white rice
1 small white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 3/4 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth, for vegetarians)
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. coarsely chopped flat-leafed parsley, for garnish

Set a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the oil, rice and onion.  Stir frequently until the grains of rice turn from translucent to milky-white, about 5 minutes.  They shouldn't brown.  Add the garlic and stir a few seconds, until fragrant, then add the broth and 1 tsp salt.  Stir a couple of times, the let the mixture come to a full boil.  Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover tightly and allow it to simmer for about 20 minutes.  Don't lift the lid until near the very end of the cooking time, when you just lift it enough to test a bit of the rice from the top and middle of the pan (which is the last spot to finish cooking in a pot of rice).  If it isn't done yet, tilt the pan and lift the edge of the rice to make sure there is still enough liquid in the bottom to cook a little longer, add another 1-2 Tbs. of water if it's dry, and put it back on.  You shouldn't ever stir the rice while it's cooking. When it's done, take it off the heat and let it stand about 5 minutes before serving.  Then you can fluff it with a fork and sprinkle it with the parsley for garnish.

For a rice cooker, saute the rice in the saucepan, then scrape it into the rice cooker, add the broth and salt, and let the rice cooker do the rest.

1 comment:

  1. This is my favorite rice! I've done it both ways and I think it gets a little fluffier in the oven. We have it frequently with beans and fresh salsa, guacamole if we're lucky. It's making me hungry just thinking about it!