This Mexican Rice 2.0 came about in response to a simple question that has probably been keeping many of you up at night…
What happens if you add tomatillos to Mexican Rice?
But don’t go searching for this dish anywhere in Mexico because you won’t find it — it’s a hybrid that lies halfway between a tomato based Arroz Rojo and a vibrant Cilantro Lime Rice. Consider it inspiration for your next batch of home-cooked Mexican Rice.
As usual, we’ll start by roasting the tomatoes and tomatillos. What’s a Tomatillo?
You could always pan roast these, but I typically just plop them in the oven for 20 minutes or so (400F).
You’re also going to need:
1/2 small onion
1 garlic clove
10-15 sprigs cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of cumin (optional)
You can put the onion, garlic, and jalapeno in a blender where they’ll wait patiently for the roasted goodies. I usually add half of the cilantro as well, reserving the other half to be mixed in with the cooked rice.
Meanwhile, you can get 1 cup white rice cooking in some oil over medium heat. Stir regularly until some of the rice is turning golden brown in color.
Add the roasted tomatoes and tomatillos to the blender. Combine well and take a taste!
These are the core ingredients for the Roasted Tomato and Tomatillo Salsa, so if this flavor ticks the boxes for you then it’s worth making a batch of that Salsa.
If you want more heat, simply add the other 1/2 jalapeno (or more!) and combine well, but I was happy with just a 1/2 jalapeno for this batch.
Once the rice is turning golden brown you can add the mixture from the blender.
I usually let this cook for a minute or so and then add the stock.
The blender mixture will be around a cup’s worth, so we’ll add an additional cup of stock. And yes, you do get an upgrade in flavor if you use stock in your rice! I use this homemade chicken stock and have gotten used to it, but you’ll still get a good result with store-bought stock.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook until all the water is absorbed. Once cooked, turn off heat and give it a good stir, tasting for seasoning. Cover and let it sit in its own steam for a few minutes before serving.
If all went according to plan you should have a vibrant, delicious batch of rice on your hands!
It’s got loads of flavor and I’ve been keeping batches of it in the fridge for some on-the-fly burritos like this one:
That’s chicken, cheese, Easy Guac, Mexican Rice 2.0, and some leftover Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa. I throw together meals like this all the time and it’s usually dependent on what’s in the fridge — keep some flavored rice on standby and you’ll always have options for these lightning quick meals.
Okay, I hope this post gives you some new ideas in the rice realm. Feel free to adjust to your palate as you may be surprised how flexible these rice recipes can be.
P.S. If making larger batches then it’s worth checking out this rice Youtube vid that someone sent me a couple months ago. His claim is that it’s unnecessary to double the liquid amount when you’re doubling the rice amount — all you need to do is figure out how much water is evaporating for your set-up and add that on top of a 1:1 ratio. I haven’t verified this yet but it’s a super interesting vid to watch.
Mexican Rice 2.0
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- 3 tomatillos
- 1/2 small onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 jalapeno
- 10-20 sprigs cilantro (optional)
- pinch of cumin (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 cup stock
- olive oil
- Start by de-husking the tomatillos. Give both the tomatillos and tomatoes a good rinse. I usually cut out the stems knowing that any juices leftover in the roasting pan will go into the blender.
- Roast the tomatoes and tomatillos in the oven (400F) for 20 minutes or until you need them.
- Prep the other ingredients and give the cilantro a good rinse. I usually twist off and discard the bottom, thicker portion of the stems, but use the upper stems that hold the leaves together.
- Add a glug of oil to a saucepan along with 1 cup white rice. Saute over medium heat until the rice is turning golden brown, stirring regularly.
- Add the roasted tomatoes and tomatillos to the blender along with the 1/2 onion, 1/2 jalapeno, 1 peeled garlic clove, and half of the cilantro (optional). Combine and take a taste, adding more jalapeno if you want more heat. Note: I usually add half of the cilantro to the blender and chop up the other half to add to the cooked rice.
- Add the blender mixture to the rice (once it's turning golden brown) and cook for a minute or so. Add 1 cup stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook until all the water is absorbed.
- Once cooked give it a good stir and take a taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Cover and let sit in its own steam for a few minutes before serving. You can optionally add the other half of the cilantro (finely chopped) to the rice before serving.
- Serve immediately. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.