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Recipe for Red Rice

This basic tomato-tinged rice accompanies many Mexican dishes. You can make the Red Roasted Tomato Salsa, which gives the rice its color, as long as a week in advance.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/miodrag ignjatovic]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/miodrag ignjatovic

Preparation time: 5 minutes, plus 35 minutes for the Red Roasted Tomato Salsa

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1-1⁄2 cups long-grain rice, rinsed

1⁄2 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

5 serrano chiles, or to taste, stemmed, seeded if desired

2 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water

1-1⁄2 cups Red Roasted Tomato Salsa

  1. Heat the oil in a medium-size heavy saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté the rice, stirring constantly, until golden brown and crackling, about 5 minutes.

    Add the onion and sauté just until soft. Stir in the garlic, salt and pepper, and chiles and sauté until the aroma is released.

  2. Pour in the stock or water and the salsa, mixing well to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

    Let rest 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve hot.

Red Roasted Tomato Salsa

Roasting the tomatoes until blackened gives this smooth red sauce its distinctive Mexican flavor.

Special tool: Blender or food processor

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Yield: 1 quart

1 pound Roma tomatoes, cored

6 garlic cloves, peeled

2 serrano chiles, stemmed and seeded

1 medium onion, cut into 1⁄2-inch slices

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup tomato juice

1 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the broiler.

  2. Place the tomatoes, garlic, chiles, and onion on a foil-lined baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil.

    Broil 6 to 8 inches from the flame for about 12 minutes, turning frequently with tongs, until evenly charred.

  3. Transfer the vegetables and any accumulated juices to the blender or food processor.

    Add the tomato juice, salt, and pepper. Puree, in batches if necessary, until smooth.

  4. Pour into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

    Cool to room temperature for table salsa, or use warm as an ingredient in rice or chilaquiles. Store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, or in the freezer for 2 weeks.

For the lazy cook’s version of this salsa, you can use canned Roma tomatoes and totally skip the broiling part. The salsa still tastes delicious, though definitely not roasted.

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