Chef and I have been together for 6 years and I never learned how to make Spanish rice until now. I love it, obviously, and I can’t get enough of it whenever we have Mexican food. We discussed over and over what this really is called because it’s been labeled as Spanish rice, though it’s not the more popular Spanish rice that we know, which is the paella. Chef said people have just labeled it as Spanish rice though it’s really more Mexican in style. Whatever this is, it’s as good as any of your carb favorites. And, with this Spanish/Mexican flair, it would be a good break from your regular white or basmati.
(I have to note that these measurements are just approximations. As I do when I cook, a lot of this is just eyeballing. Not the same when I bake though. Also, this serves a lot as I made it in a 4 quart saucepan.)
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
4 cloves chopped garlic
5 cups white rice
1 can of tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 1/2 cup peas
4 tablespoons chicken bouillon
1 tablespoon butter
How to do it:
1. Using a large strainer, give the white rice a rinse. For the life of me, I cannot believe I’ve been doing the rinsing-in-the-rice-cooker-attachment-and-dumping-the-water-then-repeat-3-times technique since I learned how to make rice. Using a strainer is actually so much more efficient! I learned this from my husband and apparently all of Mexico does it this way.
2. Start heating your oil in your saucepan. Once oil is heated, brown the onions and garlic.
3. Add in the rice and toss around. Do your best to coat and sauté / toast the rice grains as much as possible. To me, the indication was the toasted smell. Remember to keep mixing so that the grains won’t burn.
4. Add the can of tomato sauce. For this, if you prefer your rice to have a more powerful tomato flavor, feel free to add another half of a can or one whole can. It’s up to you. One can will be enough to coat the grains, but the flavors would be more subtle.
5. For good measure, Chef likes to add chicken bouillon. If we had chicken broth at this time, that’s what I would’ve used.
6. Add the peas and carrots, and again, toss it around, evenly distributing them.
7. Add about 5 cups of water. This would be your initial water addition to boil. At this point, you’re cooking your rice like you would in a rice cooker. You’ll need to watch it to see if you’ll need to add more water later. We ended up adding another cup and a half to achieve Chef’s description of al dente. Make sure you don’t over add water too because it will end up mushy, or risotto-like.
8. Top it off with some butter. This is not necessary but Chef said they just do this at their house. I like it. I’d never say no to butter.