A while ago I received a message from an old friend. He wondered if I had any luck producing a decent Mexican rice recipe so far. Unfortunately, I had to tell him that my efforts, just like his, had only cooked up disaster after disaster. I have tried so many different recipes, but nothing has come close so far. Always up for a challenge I told him that I would go ahead and keep testing and tasting until I found the perfect blend of flavor and spice.
Mexican rice doesn't sound all that hard but it has sure proven to be. Every recipe I was finding was either bland or something else just wasn't right. Many recipes have an abundance of garlic, which overpowered everything else (and I like garlic). Others tasted like a cheap boxed mix. Even some restaurants I have eaten at can't produce a decent tasting rice on their plate. So my work was definitely cut out for me.
After talking to my friend for a bit, we both agreed that yellow rice is best and not the tomato based Spanish type rice. Now, I'm not an expert on Hispanic food, and even despite living in the southwest the rice in restaurants will vary from red to yellow. So forgive me if this is not 100% authentic, but the main goal was flavor in this endeavor.
I started reading through a ton of recipes online and made notes left and right. I finally came across a few that called for Goya seasoning* and I thought I was finally on to something. Starting with a high quality rice and a flavorful broth, I was finally able to achieve a rice that was worthy of being served to family and friends. I'm not completely sure if I want to keep relying on a seasoning mix like Goya and so my search will continue to find a way to achieve the same flavor without it. For the time being though, this makes one tasty rice full of everything I was looking for.
So Steve, this one is for you; while it is not my final work, I still truly hope you enjoy it!
* Goya seasoning is available in the southwest at a lot of grocery stores in the Hispanic food aisle. If you can't find it at your local store, you can easily purchase it here. There are 36 envelopes in the box and you only need 1 envelope per recipe made.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
3 cups chicken broth
1 envelope Sazon Goya seasoning with coriander and annatto
Pinch of saffron
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and saute another 30 seconds.
Add the rice, the Sazon Goya envelope, and saffron, stir until the rice is coated with the oil and toasted. Add the chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook until the rice is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Stir in the fresh lime juice, then gently fold in cilantro. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with additional lime wedges.