25 May 2017

Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice - Oven Method



Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice - Oven Method / www.delightfulrepast.com

My restaurant-style Mexican Rice recipe was a real hit with my friend Lily, with whom I've gotten acquainted through the blog. But she is in the habit of cooking her rice in the oven, so she adapted my recipe to her oven method. And then I adapted her method ...

Turned out beautifully and freed up some stove space for other things. So if you want to get the rice off your stovetop - and off your mind - while you're cooking other things, you should try this Mexican Rice - Oven Method.

If you've read my original Mexican Rice post, you know that I think where a lot of people go wrong is in the seasoning. They think any food called Mexican needs to be spicy. But the rice should add some variety to your plate, something mild - but flavorful - to balance out the heat and spice of everything else.

I perfected my recipe using Lundberg organic long-grain white rice and a 5 1/2-quart Le Creuset Round French Oven. To get consistent results, I use the same rice and the same pan each time. This is a lot of rice, but I make this amount every time. Just refrigerate or freeze the leftovers, and reheat in the microwave. Lily thinks it's even tastier after being frozen.


My "rice teacher" Julia, referred to in that earlier post, will be coming for a visit next month, so I put a dish of this in the freezer and will see if it will reheat well enough to suit her.

Do you know of a great way to reheat cold rice? How about frozen rice?

Update 05/26/17: For two generous servings, I put 3 cups of the thawed rice in a 1-quart glass bowl, added 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) of water, topped it with a silicone lid (raised a bit at one point along the edge by a folded bit of paper towel to vent) and microwaved on full power for 5 minutes. It was the fluffiest rice ever!


Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice - Oven Method / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice - Oven Method


(Makes 20 servings)

4 cups (32 fluid ounces/946 ml) chicken broth (vegetable broth or water, if you're vegetarian)
3 cups (24 fluid ounces/710 ml) water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 2-pound bag (32 ounces/907 grams) medium- or long-grain white rice (I use Lundberg organic long grain)
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce (I use Muir Glen organic; it is THE best!)

1 In 3-quart saucepan, bring broth, water and salt to a simmer while browning the rice. The amount of liquid called for varies between brands. My preferred brand calls for a ratio of 1 1/2 cups liquid to 1 cup rice, and I think that ratio would be best with any brand.

2 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. In 5 1/2-quart pot, heat olive oil and stir in rice (straight from the package--do not rinse). Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally*, until rice is lightly browned. This may take 20 to 30 minutes. Throw in a few whole cloves of garlic at some point, if you like. They can be removed before the next step or before serving.


* Leave rice alone for 5 minutes or so between stirrings to give the bottom layer a chance to brown a bit.

3 Gradually stir tomato sauce into rice and cook for a minute or two, then add the hot liquid to the rice. Bring to a full boil and stir just once. Put the lid on tightly, and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave the covered pot in the oven for 25 minutes.

4 If this is your first time making this, take a really quick peek to see if liquid has evaporated and rice is done. Cover and let stand, off heat, for 10 minutes. Then fluff with a fork (I use a pair of forks for this amount). Garnish, if you like, and serve. Garnishes might include a squeeze of lime juice, chopped cilantro, or frozen peas.

58 comments:

Angie Schneider said...

I have never made oven rice. How interesting and FUN and the rice turned out so good, Jean. Can't wait to try it.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Angie. I'm thinking that when I cook brown rice in the oven I'll do the 350F for 10 minutes and oven off for 45. Or something like that.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Whole grain brown rice is my substitute staple for all the breads I don’t eat. It blends well, clearing the palate with blandness, as you say, but it also absorbs and holds butter and those delightful spices and sauces that go with my most secret recipes. Also, it’s quick to prepare, and if you pay attention to the precise moment it has absorbed enough water, you can’t go wrong. The forgiving window between undercooked bullets and overcooked soggy paste is about 91.6 seconds, and it signals visually as well as by sampling. I do rinse it before cooking because rice can carry low levels of arsenic. Yeah, and it re-heats well for 2-3 days. In any case, a little butter and a little water is like a séance for dead rice. I live on a lake that was once an Indian rice paddy (you can’t get any more organic than that), but I prefer to shop for Uncle Ben’s. See? I can write a straight answer… 5 cleavers for your highlighting rice’s undervalued place on the table.

Cranberry Morning said...

How could I live this long and not know that rice would still be edible after freezing?? I always thought it would get 'grainy.' LOL But it's so nice to know, and I printed out your recipe to make ASAP. It sounds delicious! Thanks, Jean.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, I am honored to be the recipient of the coveted 5-Cleavers Award! I love brown rice, too. I'm thinking this oven method will make overcooking it impossible. Will let you know.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Judy! I know what you mean, you get thinking, Surely after all this time, I must know everything I need to know! :D

Mildred said...

Thank you so much! My husband and I will love this!
Wishing you a nice holiday weekend.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Mildred, thank you. I had made some overly spicy burrito filling, so I put some of this rice in the burritos to "tone down" the heat a bit. Worked great.

Daniela said...

I also have never tried to cook rice in the oven and I have to admit that I don't know Mexican cooking at all ... maybe this shoul be the right time to begin with this recipe of yours, dear Jean !

Wishing you a most lovely weekend ahead,
I'm sending blessings of joy to you,
cherished friend

XOXO Dany

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Dany dear, thank you. I hope you will try it. Mexican food is full of wonderful flavors and textures.

Anonymous said...

This morning as I was putting more rice into the oven, I thought of you, Jean, and wondered what today's recipe would be. So here I am checking... and smiling! I love that you tried this method and that you think it worked well. Hearing this is the highlight of my week! Thank you!

I usually make brown rice and bring it just back to a boil before turning the oven off - which is usually about 5 minutes for it, too. At 45 minutes it is done and ready to be fluffed and returned for 10 minutes to the then quite cool oven.

I really hope your readers will enjoy this method for all their rice dishes. It is just so simple. Life should be simple when it can! :)

Love and thank you again, Jean,
Lily


Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Dear Lily, thank *you*! I was hoping you'd see this today. It had never occurred to me to use the oven for rice. I'm really looking forward to trying the brown rice and will use your timing. I so agree, life should be simple when it can! Big hugs!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

I have a rice pilaf recipe that is done in the oven, Jean, but this Mexican one sounds fabulous. I love that it's not overly-seasoned. Thank you for the tip on the Muir Glen making the best tomato sauce.
I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Kitty. I'll have to try your pilaf - I'm going to be doing lots of oven rice now! Have a great weekend!

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Jean your oven rice sounds so good. Freeing up the stove top sounds nice to me. The fact that the oven doesn't stay on the whole time is intriguing to me! The fact that the rice is browned must give it a wonderful flavor. I agree with with you about Muir Glen tomato sauce! It's the best. Thanks for another great recipe. ♥

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Martha. This is one of my favorites. Hope you'll like it, too. I love all the Muir Glen products and use a lot of fire roasted crushed tomatoes and the crushed tomatillos.

Margie said...

I eat rice regularly, but this is the first time I've seen rice cooked in the oven. Our rice doesn't last long so I've never had leftovers for the freezer!

Debbie Harris said...

The mexican rice with my meal in a restaurant is my ultimate favorite!!
I've pinned this and will certainly give it a try.
Thank you for sharing this recipe with us, can't wait to try it. :-)

Enjoy your weekend~

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Margie, we can eat a lot of rice, too; but a 2-pound bag of rice makes a LOT of rice! I'm really sold on this oven method.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Debbie, thank you! And do let me know how it turns out for you!

Jaxx The Bearded Hiker said...

This sounds great! I have a rice cooker, but I have never gotten great Mexican rice out of it. I'm definitely gonna try this soon!

I usually make a ton of rice in the rice cooker and freeze. I like to, if I can, let it defrost in the fridge overnight, though not necessary, but I usually reheat in the microwave or in a special rice dish made of pottery. If I do it in the microwave I like to do it in maybe 1.5 cup increments at 50 - 55 seconds with a slight damp paper towel over it. The rice likes the steam created by the paper towel.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jaxx, thanks for the reheating tips. I'll definitely give them a try. Do let me know how the recipe turns out for you. It's that browning step that is crucial to Mexican rice. Of course, in restaurants they do it in an unhealthy way, putting a mesh basket of rice in the deep fryer with unhealthy vegetable oil that has been overheated many times.

ohmummymia said...

I love Mexican kitchen. And a rice? is my best meal product ever #DreamTeam

April J Harris said...

Your Baked Mexican Rice sounds fantastic, Jean. I have a Le Creuset pan very similar to this, and I can't wait to try making your Baked Mexican Rice in it! It's so nice to have a baked recipe as it is easy for the stove top to get crowded. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious, convenient recipe with us at The Hearth and Soul Link Party. Have a lovely weekend!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, ohmummymia, I hope you'll try it soon!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

April, I'm so glad you like it! Let me know how it turns out for you.

Louca por porcelana said...

Hi Jean! It looks delicious!Thanks for sharing !

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Maristella!

chefmimiblog.com said...

Interesting! I'm not sure I could bring myself to do this, because I'm old and so traditional in my ways of cooking! But it certainly looks good! I'm with you on the seasoning. People can always add cayenne or fresh chile peppers, but the rice should be flavorful with Mexican spices and herbs, not just fiery hot!

Sippity Sup said...

If it's good for beans then it's good for rice. GREG

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Greg, I am going to have to try beans in the oven. For some reason, I've been resistant, with the exception of Boston Baked Beans.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you! Mimi, if *I* can cut loose and try rice in the oven, *any*one can! :D

Nicola Hatch Lighterness said...

This looks so yum! We love anything Mexican-inspired! Thanks so much for linking this up with #DreamTeam!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Nicola, thank you! Glad you like it!

Lavender and Lime (http://tandysinclair.com) said...

I have never thought to freeze rice. What a great idea to do so. I lvoe the idea of oven baking rice. Only ever done that with risotto :)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tandy, if anything can be frozen, I freeze it - I love nothing more than having homemade meals in the freezer for those days when I don't feel like cooking! And I'm so glad Lily told me about making my rice recipe in the oven - it had never occurred to me, but I just love it!

handmade by amalia said...

I'm another who've never made over rice. Looks delicious.
Amalia
xo

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Amalia. I think there are a lot of us who have never tried the oven method!

Marisa G Thermofan said...

Hi Jean. Thanks a lot for your comment in my blog. Glad, you've liked my recipe.
I'm from Valencia, the land in Spain, where the traditional paella was born and we are proud of being people who are expert, cooking all type of rice.
Last week, I frozen rice and now, I see the way you do it. I'm going to read it tomorrow again because it seems very interesting to me and now is very late here.
Have a nice week.
Cheers from Spain.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Marisa, thank you! Yes, it is very late there - go to bed, get some sleep! Thanks so much.

Cristina said...

RIce in the oven has such an interesting taste. I love your recipe!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Cristina. I love how beautifully it freezes and reheats, too.

Gerlinde de Broekert said...

I have never seen a recipe like this , it looks wonderful. My husband loves rice and I am going to make this for him soon.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Gerlinde, thank you. I hope you'll both like it as much as we do!

Miz Helen said...

We will just love this rice, Mexican Food is a staple here and what a great recipe to have! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday! Hope you are having a great week and come back to see us real soon.
Miz Helen

Cocoa and Lavender said...

Jean - this would have been fabulous with my tacos last weekend! Definitely next time. Your note about over-spicing is a good one for almost every cuisine. We as Americans always think more is better bye my mother taught me that subtlety is a true sign of a good cook!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Miz Helen! It sure simplifies life in the kitchen when you've got a lot happening on the stovetop!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

David, that is so true. Your mother was right! Some people throw everything in the spice cabinet at everything they make. No subtlety.

Pom Pom said...

Perfect, Jean! I'm always bookmarking things here because you have the best ideas! Thank you!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Karen, thank you so much! You just made my day.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Leftover rice freezes really well, so I often do that. This looks terrific -- a nice method. Never made it in the oven -- need to try that. And flavored perfectly. Thanks!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, John! Yes, I love having a batch in the freezer, as I do now, with houseguests arriving in a few days!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Add me to the list of those not knowing about the oven technique for cooking rice. It certainly does make it easy when entertaining.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Karen, I'm so glad Lily told me about it. Now I'll probably always make it that way. Don't need to be worried about the rice when you're entertaining!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Sounds like an easy way to make lots of rice. Pinned and shared

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Carol. All social media shares are much appreciated! I really like freezing and reheating a food that freezes and reheats so beautifully!

anointedtoday said...

I love Mexican food. This recipe sounds awesome. Thanks for stopping by anointedtoday.blogspot.com.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Betty! It is "real" Mexican rice, fluffy not wet and saucy.

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