Recipe: mexican red rice
People complain an awful lot about winter. They don’t like the cold. They don’t like the snow. They don’t like the greyness or darkness. But I have a theory… I think a good percentage of those folks would love winter if they knew how good it could be. I treat winter like summer. It’s an opportunity to explore, fill your lungs with good clean (and thin) air, and get off your bum.
all of the footwear we used this past week
Of course, Colorado winter is something else entirely from the winters I’ve experienced in other places like the East Coast or even California. First, there’s sunshine and lots of it. We get fabulous snow of the dry, fluffy, powdery variety. And our forests and mountains… well, see for yourself.
view from the ski lift
my buds on the chair behind us
I’m convinced if winter were this awesome everywhere, then people would share my fondness for this oft-maligned season. It’s the kind of winter that is a joy to get into rather than one to barricade against. The après ski isn’t bad either!
chirashi bowl, please
walking off lunch with my friend andrew in boulder
sweet sweet colorado (boulder flatirons)
Before Jeremy and I moved here, I was unaware of just how many different ways there were to ski the mountains. Now I know… or rather, my legs, butt, back, shoulders, arms, and neck know. It’s great. Winter is great AND you don’t have to worry about being bikini-ready (unless of course you’re dipping into the hot tub), just ski pants-ready. We’ve had a string of cool, windless, sunny days to take advantage of. It’s my favorite way to earn those calories.
on the approach
It’s right around this time of year when I start digging into my stash of summer goodies like the jams, pickles, and tomatoes I canned in September, or the green chiles we roasted and froze in August. I love a good chile relleno, especially the ones I prepare at home because I remove all of the seeds. But I’m also a sucker for the traditional plate you get in New Mexico with a side of refritos and Mexican rice. And when you’re back from a day spent backcountry skiing, you are craving the works.
mexican red rice: medium grain rice, tomatoes, onion, garlic, broth, peanut oil, mild red chile, salt
everything minced, diced, and prepped
I avoided making any sort of rice that wasn’t cooked in a rice cooker at my elevation for a long time, mainly because stove top rice never cooked through. But like most of my high altitude cooking issues, I’ve tackled them one by one. Certainly, Mexican red rice is among the easier recipes to make, so it wasn’t much effort to adjust it for my elevation.
sauté the onions and garlic
add the rice and tomatoes
The red chile powder used in this recipe is NOT cayenne pepper, so please don’t make that mistake. It’s just ground dried mild New Mexico red chiles. I buy it when I’m in New Mexico by one-pound bagfuls, but you might also find them in the Mexican food section of your local grocer where they have bags of spices and such. The recipe calls for beef or chicken broth, depending on what you are serving the rice alongside – so use your judgment. I went with chicken broth.
sprinkle the chile powder and salt over the rice
add the broth
fluff with a fork
Aside from adding a little more liquid and letting the rice simmer a few additional minutes, I didn’t have to do much else in the way of altitude adjustments. And gosh, homemade Mexican red rice really makes the plate for me because I’m not a serial eater (someone who eats one thing at a time), I eat in parallel getting a little bit of everything on my fork. It’s a natural sidekick to chile rellenos, enchiladas, tacos, you name it.
exercise, eat, repeat
Mexican Red Rice
from The Border Cookbook
2 tbsps peanut oil or lard
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked medium or long grained rice
2 small tomatoes, chopped (or canned diced tomatoes, drained)
2 cups beef or chicken stock
1 tbsp ground mild red chile
3/4 tsp salt
Heat the oil or lard in a sauté pan or stock pot over medium flame. Sauté the onion and garlic until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the uncooked rice and tomatoes to the onion and garlic, stirring to coat the rice grains with the oil. Add the stock, chile powder, and salt. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and let the contents simmer for 15-18 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed. [Note: I added a half cup more liquid and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes at 8500 feet above sea level.] Turn off the heat, but keep the rice covered for an additional 5-10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve. Serves 4-6.