Friday: Tacos with Mexican Rice, Corn & Beans, Squash Candy & Limey Cabbage

I searched through past blog entries, and no where do I find a recipe for Mexican Rice.  Since I’m fairly certain I’ve referenced it pretty much every week, this needs to be fixed!  I got the original recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.  It’s a pretty good recipe, but I’ve made it so often now that I’ve tweaked it a bit (for example, I no longer rinse the rice in the first step – so I didn’t write that into the recipe below).

Squash Candy is a delightful preparation for delicata squash that was shown to me by my good friend, Josh.  Thank you to Amanda for supporting details in the recipe! 

Mexican Rice

Ingredients:

  • fresh tomatoes
  • onion
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 4 cloves garlic, put through a press
  • 3 jalapeño chiles, minced and separated
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if I’m cooking for true vegetarians)
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Preparation:

  1. Move an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Heat oil in 12-inch oven-safe frying pan over medium-high heat.  When oil is hot, add rice and stir.  Toast rice until it begins to turn golden brown (5-10 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, purée the tomatoes and onions in the food processor until smooth.  You’ll need exactly 2 cups of the purée, but it’s virtually impossible to figure out how many tomatoes (1? 2? 1 1/2?) and what portion of an onion this will require.  I usually do about two tomatoes and 1/2 a large onion, and see what I get.  In the summer (when I have tons of fresh tomatoes from the CSA), I tend to make several batches of this onion/tomato mixture and freeze it in muffin tins, so that I can just defrost it when it’s rice time.  Anyway – put 2 cups of the mixture in a measuring cup and reserve the rest in the freezer for next time.
  4. Once rice begins to turn golden, add the garlic and 1/3 of the jalapeño.  Cook until fragrant (30 seconds or so) and stir to combine.
  5. Add tomato mixture, broth, and tomato paste.  Stir to combine (sometimes it’s really hard to get that tomato paste to combine at all), cover, and bring to a boil. Note: if you are using any kind of glass lid on your frying pan, it is VERY important to cover the pan as you bring the rice to a boil.  Otherwise, the heat shock from transferring a cold lid to a hot oven can shatter your lid.  When that happens, you’ve lost the lid AND your precious Mexican Rice.  No matter how tasty the rice smells, it’s just not safe to pick glass shards out of your rice in order to eat it.
  6. Transfer pan to the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes.  When the timer goes off, stir the rice to reincorporate the tomato mixture.  Return the rice to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes (until done).
  7. Add the remaining jalapeño and all of the cilantro and stir to incorporate. Yum!

Squash Candy

Ingredients:

  • 1 delicata squash
  • olive oil
  • salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 (if I’m making this the same night as Mexican Rice, like tonight, I just do it at 350).
  2. Cut squash in half and remove seeds and stringy flesh.  Place cut-side down on the chopping board and slice 1/2″ thick.  I sometimes then cut those slices in half to make shorter slices – it depends on what I plan to do with it.
  3. Place squash in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil.  Add a bit of salt and plenty of pepper.  Sprinkle generously with red pepper flakes.  Toss to coat.
  4. Spread squash slices out on a cookie sheet (I often cover the sheet with foil to make clean-up easier).  Bake for 10-15 minutes and flip slices over.  Bake another 10-15 minutes, until squash has started to caramelize.  The sweetness from the caramalized squash is a wonderful counterpoint to the red pepper flakes’ spice.

The Verdict:

We had friends over to enjoy this feast, which we served on tortillas with melted Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, and a chopped avocado.  Everyone seemed happy with the meal, and we enjoyed hours of revelry and beer.  Too much beer.  I keep telling the keyboard it’s too noisy, but it just won’t get any quieter…

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1 Comment

  1. August 12, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    […] loved them.  I loved them.  They had a strange texture when we used them to make our normal tacos.  Instead of getting hard and crispy and weird, they were instead still pleasantly soft.  I […]


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