Saturday, July 25, 2009

Recipe: Spanish Rice

If you eat as many quesadillas as we do, it's nice to have a variety of ingredients to add into them or place alongside. Spanish rice is a favorite side dish in our family since it is versatile, tasty, and easy to prepare. We've also found that the red variety of Hatch brand sauce seems to work for those of us that are gluten-free.

While the Spanish might cringe, we often make this with Basmati rice... mostly because that's the only type of white rice we routinely stock. It tastes darn fine, and I've kinda come to like the extra flavor component. Otherwise, use any white, fairly long-grained rice. If you have the time and preference, brown rice is also an option.

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 1/2 cups broth (I typically use chicken, but you can use veggie to keep it vegetarian)
  • 1 14 oz. can of Hatch enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed veggies (corn, carrots, beans)
  • 2-3 T canola oil
  • Salt
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Granulated garlic

Add the rice and liquids (broth and enchilada sauce) to a stainless steel saucepan, and cook on high until boiling (stir it here and there to prevent sticking), and then reduce heat and simmer until done. Usually 20 minutes or so.

Then, heat a large cast iron skillet on medium heat, and once it warms up evenly (5-7 minutes) and just begins to smoke lightly, add a solid coating of canola oil, and spoon in the rice in small batches. If you just dump it all in at once... it tends to form a big blob.

Mix rice around with a wooden spatula to let it develop some crispiness, and to burn off excess moisture. Season to taste with salt and spices. Add in the frozen veggies when you're 5 minutes or so from pulling and serving. (Note: the skillet-frying step can be repeated on subsequent days to re-warm the rice, and can also be put off until a day or more after the initial rice cooking).

You can at this point, of course, use your already hot skillet to heat other ingredients like refried beans, beef tips, or what have you. If you are on the quesadilla program, it works great for those too.

Serve Spanish Rice immediately, as a side dish to damn near anything (including fried eggs for breakfast), or as a filling for quesadillas, enchiladas, or tacos.