A few years back, in honor of Cinco de Mayo and all things Mexican, I decided to cook up all sorts of yummy foods – a week of Mexican dishes leading up to the big event. This super quick, delicious rice was a part of that week-long celebration.
My Spanish Rice from scratch is always a big hit with my guys as a side dish to all sorts of spicy foods – everything from Enchiladas to Shredded Beef Tacos. It makes a lot of rice, great for using as a rice base for new dishes or simply as a spicy rice to serve again later in the week. However; my Spanish Rice takes 30 minutes to cook, plus the time it takes to prepare all the ingredients for cooking. While it’s a fabulous dish, there are times when you want a rice that is quick. This is especially true if you are trying a new main entrée and you aren’t sure about the timing. Having everything table ready at the same time might be a bit tricky the first time around.
Let’s face it, timing in the kitchen is everything. There is nothing more disastrous than a dried out roast because the sides dishes weren’t ready or a steak that is over cooked because the baked potatoes weren’t baked through. Some foods can hold, others can’t without consequences. The first time I made this Mexican Rice, it was to be paired with another new dish – Mexican Roast Beef with Chipotle Sour Cream Sauce. I was apprehensive about the timing of the roast, having never prepared it before. Everything about the menu screamed Spanish Rice for the side, but there was the whole timing issue rearing its ugly head. While there was the option of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice (a pantry staple for those times when I need an instant side), I was in the mood to cook – to putter about and create a sensational supper my guys weren’t soon to forget. In all fairness, Uncle Ben’s is fool-proof and not bad for an “instant” rice that only takes 90 seconds in the microwave. For this particular evening, I was looking for more. I decided to go with a rice that takes about 10 minutes from start to finish – taking advantage of Minute Rice coupled with a few additional ingredients. The result was a big bowl of yummy rice that rounded out our supper beautifully. I’ve made it many times since. This might just replace Uncle Ben Ready Rice as a flavorful shortcut side.
Mexican Salsa Rice
3 tablespoons Pickled Jalapeno Peppers (from a jar)
1-1/2 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Chunky-Style Salsa (Hot or Medium)
1 tablespoon Taco Seasoning
2 cups uncooked Minute Rice
Note: Be sure to use a thick, chunky-style salsa. Look in the deli case for the best selection. The chunkier the better.
Chop Jalapeno Peppers, set aside until ready to use.
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring chicken stock, salsa, jalapeno peppers and taco seasoning to a boil.
Stir in rice; remove from the heat. Cover and let stand 6 to 8 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Transfer rice to a large bowl and serve.