Monday, December 31, 2012

Mexican Rice

When I set out to make a recipe, I try to make it restaurant quality. I strive to make something you would pay to eat. To coin a phrase from Guy Fieri, "This Mexican Rice is money!" It is better than what you would find at your local Mexican eatery.

I start by browning vermicelli in a little olive oil. You may have the urge to brown the vermicelli in butter, DON'T DO IT! Stick with olive oil, butter can burn! If you don't have vermicelli, well go out and buy some! Just kidding. You can substitute spaghetti. Just break it into small pieces. Make sure you keep an eye on this. The vermicelli can burn quickly! If that happens you will need to start over. So there, I warned you.
Next, stir in the rice. Let the rice get coated in the olive oil for a minute or so.
* I am picky about which rice I use for this recipe. Stick with Uncle Ben's long grain converted rice. I don't care what anyone else tells you, Uncle Ben's is where it's at in this recipe. I use other types of rice for various dishes, but not in this recipe.
Next up are the flavor boosters. I stir in butter, butter flakes and chicken bouillon cubes. All great Mexican Rice recipes have chicken bouillon.The brand of chicken bouillon I prefer is Tone's. It has more flavor than any other out there. Back to butter flakes for a second. What are they, you ask? Imitation butter, found in the spice aisle. It is one of my favorite ingredients. It helps me to cut down on the amount of butter used in any given dish, while satisfying the palate for a buttery taste. Brands I use are Molly McButter and Butter Buds.
Besides chicken bouillon, tomato is the next important seasoning for Mexican Rice. Here I take a great tasting shortcut and use Pace Picante Sauce. It has the tomato base, with vegetables blended in, making it perfect for this dish.
Everything is brought to a boil.
Covered with a tight fitting lid.
And the heat reduced to medium low.
Simmer for 20 minutes. It is important not to stir the rice after you've put the lid on. The rice will turn sticky! To check for doneness, tilt the pan toward you, and hold several seconds. If there is no water pooling, it is done. If there is water, cover and continue cooking, checking every few minutes.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ Cup vermicelli, broken
1 Cup Uncle Ben’s converted rice
3 Tone’s chicken bouillon cubes, crushed
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons Molly McButter, butter sprinkles
1 ½ Cups water
½ Cup Pace picante sauce

You will need a medium sized sauce pan with a tight fitting lid to cook the rice. To begin: heat oil in the sauce pan. Add vermicelli and brown, keeping a close eye, as not to burn! Add rice, coating with the olive oil and vermicelli. Let cook for 1 minute. Stir in bouillon cubes, butter and butter sprinkles. Add water and picante sauce; stirring to combine. Bring rice to a boil. Once the rice has started a rapid boil, cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes. Do not stir during the cooking process. The rice will turn sticky. Rice is done when pan tilted towards you yields no water. If water forms, continue cooking, checking every few minutes.