Thursday, April 15, 2010

Zinnia's Spanish Rice

I am almost positive that the Mexican government is working on an extraditional agreement with the US government. It shouldn't be long before Mexican federallies show up at the home of my friend Zinnia Warrior Princess' home and take her into questioning.
The jig is up.
The secret is out.
The code has been cracked.
She succumbed to my charms and has given up the great secret held close by Latinos everywhere. She told me. Now I know.
What? You want to know too?
Ok, ok.......she gave up the secret for how to make that fabulous Spanish rice found in every great Mexican Restaurant.
Certinaly this could potentially have all Hispanics running for the hills!
Nah! Kidding, I think all Mexican Restaurants business is safe.
But to actually know the secret......I feel liberated. Like I am in on the secret.
Literally, for years I have experimented at trying to come up with the magic that makes the rice in Mexican restuarants taste so good, and for me, so addicting. Don't even try and pass off any of those boxed "spanish" rice found at the grocery store to me and my family. Crap. It's hogwash and we all know it. It's not fit to eat and quite frankly, down right disappointing.
I have been asking my dear friend Zinnia, Warrior Princess for far to long to give up the secret recipe (she claimed it wasn't a secret but that she needed to write it down. Yeah, right....) So today, after forcing her into a local Walmart and walking her to the Mexican food section and I had her come clean. She talked fast....but I got it all down. I grabbed the ingredients left and right as she read them off. Then I went home to try one last time.
It all begins with the rice. This is where my failures began. I had been using Minute Rice. Wrong. Zinnia prefers to use a long grain rice, but the bag was enormous (no smaller ones) and could have fed a small country. I love rice but not that much, so I got a different brand in a smaller bag (the one shown below). Mine turned out perfect using this!

I used the whole package on my family. And I had plenty to use for another meal. Prepare rice according to package with the addition of adding a teaspoon of chicken bouillon granules (or a cube) to the water. Cover and simmer, allowing liquid to absorb into rice.
When liquid is absorbed, in a skillet, add a small amount of oil and the rice. I added just enough to keep the rice from scorching on the bottom of the pan. Fry rice until it becomes a golden color. While rice is frying, in a blender add one can of Del Monte Stewted Tomoatoes (Mexican blend) half an onion, 3 cloves garlic (onion and garlic to taste) . Blend. My family prefers no chunks to I blend to a liquid.
After rice is golden and sticky, add the tomato blend to skillet and stir.
And guess what you have my Amigos...Spanish rice.
Yes! It's that simple! My kids raved and raved about it. I know my cousin Glenda is literally jumping for joy right now. She too, for years, has been wanting to know the secret!
I know that like will want to give this lady a big huge hug!
But, alas! This was not all the advice that she dished on Mexican cuisine. She introduced me to some foods that I didn't have the guts to try without the professional guidance of someone who knows what they are doing.
I came home with these goodies (all found at Wal-Mart in the Mexican foods section).

Valentina Hot Sauce ($1.08). My family likes all things HOT. I purchased two varieties-one original and one extra hot. No one in my family cared for the extra hot. The flavor was just not as appealing. The original we all loved. J Smooth poured it on top of his rice and said it was "deliciouso!"
See that Cilantro Salsa? It packs some heat but YUM! Thumbs up! Much like the "hot salsa" that you have to request at a Mexican Restaurant.
And finally another secret that I did not know.....when my family ate with the Sanchez's at Cozumel Grill Mexican Restaurant, Zinnia and Freddy ordered up some vegetables (onion, peppers, carrot and cauliflower) that were in some type of vinegar. The vegetables were divine. So much so, we had to order another bowl. I LOVED these. Zinnia said that anyone can order this at any Mexican Restaurant. It is not on the menu (as is my favorite salsa-talked about above). Zinnia assured me that if you ask for the carrots in vinegar they will bring it. Try it. I also purchased some of the carrots in vinegar at Walmart (88 cents). Some good food. Some good meal we had!
Even the dog got carried away. When I was loading the dishes into the dish washer she reached in there and stole the spoon and ran. Can't say I blame her. It was that good.

What else can I even say about these great discoveries by way of the sweet, gorgeous and exotic Zinnia?
Zinnia, I hope that the federallies are not to harsh on you. You know what they say, the way to a persons heart is through their stomach. I think you will have them eating out of your hands just like you do my family. Thanks!
Zinnia just sent me her own recipe. It is as follows..
Mexican Rice2 cups rice
1 can Mexican style stewed tomatoes
4 cups water
Chicken bouillon (1 heaping tablespoon or 2 cubes)
Onion (1/4 to 1/2)
Minced garlic
Oil (1/3 cup)
Pot with lid at least 2 quart


Place onion, garlic and stewed tomatoes in blender and puree. Place half of mixture in an airtight container and save for future use.
Heat oil over medium/high, pour rice into pot and brown. Once rice is brown remove from heat and drain. Return rice to pot and pour tomato mixture on top, stir constantly so it coats all the rice and does not burn; add water and chicken bouillon. Stir occassionally to dissolve bouillon and prevent sticking; when water is almost gone lower heat to low and cover for 20 minutes.

For more Foodie Friday contributors visit Michael Lee at Designs by Gollum.

And do not forget to enter the Plates and Places of Bloggeritaville's Le Creuset Baking Dish Giveaway!


The Troll said...

That sounds flavorful and BETTER than Mexican Restaurant rice. Round here, most of that is fried in lard.

J said...

That ROCKS! She sounds like a TOTAL great friend!!!! =)

I love love love love love love love Mexican food!!!! I'm also one to like it "H-O-T & S-P-I-C-Y"!!! I'm going to pick up that salsa and give it a try! Thanks! =)

I'm making THIS rice my next TACO NIGHT! =)


Leigh said...

Trol-It is soooo good! Lard? YUCK!!!!

J- You will love it! YUM. I added salt and pepper to taste. I also like a spoonful of salsa in mine (even at the restuarant) Let me know how ya like it.

Zinnia said...

forgot to mention that when making the rice you may want to stay away from plastic cooking utensils. The oil gets extremely hot and melts them :)

nancygracey said...

I can't wait to make this rice when I make my chicken enchiladas.....also a recipe my sister was given by a Mexican friend!

Kristen said...

What a treasure to know the way to make rice like the restaurants. And you shared! That's even better. I am going to copy this and make it for my family. Thanks!

Bama Belle said...

How I adore Z! Must make this rice! thanks to both of you for sharing!!