ARROZ ROJO (Mexican red rice, for four)
2 cups long-grain, basmati white rice
one 14-1/2 ounce can peeled whole tomatoes in juice, drained
½ white onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups chicken broth
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 celery stalk
1 sprig parsley
juice of ½ lime
salt to taste
- Measure rice into a fine-mesh sieve and place sieve into a bowl of cold water to soak for 30 minutes. Remove sieve from water and drain rice for 20 minutes. (Soaking and drying the rice thoroughly are important to remove the starch from the kernels before cooking. Otherwise, your rice may be gummy.)
- Puree the tomatoes, onion, red pepper flakes and garlic in a blender until smooth. Add the chicken broth and blend. Strain mixture through a medium mesh sieve into a 4 cup glass measure and, if necessary, add enough chicken broth to total 4 cups liquid. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a 3-quart, heavy saucepan with a close-fitting lid. Saute the rice, stirring, for 2 minutes over medium heat, until the kernels are well-coated with the oil.
- Stir in the chicken broth and tomato mixture, celery, parsley, lime juice and salt to taste. (Do not stir again until rice is finished). Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 8 minutes, until the surface of the rice is dry and covered with steam holes.
- Reduce heat to lowest possible setting, cover pot tightly (use both a tea towel and lid) and cook 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice stand, still covered, 5 minutes more. Remove cover, discard the celery stalk and parsley sprig, and fluff the rice with a fork.
very loosely based on Guadalupe Rivera and Marie-Pierre Colle, Frida’s Fiestas