Sunday, January 22, 2012

Baked Mexican-ish Rice

I love taco night, but I get tired of the Rice-a-Roni my people like to go with it (don't judge ME, I'M the one looking for an alternative!).Spanish rice is fine, but it seems... bland.  I like BIG flavor.  I came across a rice that was mixed with sour cream, green beans and mushrooms and then baked and it gave me an idea.  What if I did a Mexican version?  It was really, really good.  It is creamy and cheesy and smoky (from the tomatoes).  I now have a new taco night side dish (not to say I won't get bored and come up with more!).

Baked Mexican-ish Rice
1 tsp. oil
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp. butter
1 c. long grain rice
chicken broth (the amount will vary, you'll see why in a minute)
1 c. sour cream
1-4 oz. can diced, green chiles
1-14.5 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
1 c. shredded monterey jack cheese
1 tsp. cumin
cilantro (this is dependant on taste, my people do not appreciate cilantro, or capers, or pine nuts so it is easier to limit the amount and limit the bit...  I mean complaining)

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and cook until it has softened, and is starting to caramelize.
Add in the butter and rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice smells toasty and looks translucent at the edges.
While you are working on the onions and rice, put a fine mesh strainer over a 2 c. (or more) measuring cup.  Pour in the tomatoes and let them drain into your cup.  You will have about 1/2 cup of liquid.  Fill the rest of the way up to the 2 c. mark with chicken broth.
Once the rice is nice and toasty, add this tomato, chicken liquid and bring it to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes.  Make sure you keep an eye on this.  It may dry out before the time is up and you don't want it to burn.  We are not adding as much liquid as Uncle Ben tells us to because we want this rice toothsome.  It is going to bake 30 more minutes with sour cream, which has a lot of water in it and we don't want it to get mushy.
Once the rice is cooked, stir in the sour cream, chiles, the tomatoes you drained, half of the cheese, cumin and cilantro.
Pour into a greased 9"x9" (ish) baking dish and top with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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