You don’t need to buy a prepackaged box of Spanish rice that is full of artificial additives, MSG, and high in sodium when it is so very easy to make your own in 30 minutes — especially when most of that time is hands free while it is cooking then resting — covered and undisturbed!
This recipe is made faster and easier on the stove top than attempting to use an electric pressure cooker. However, instructions for doing so are included — as well as the reasons it isn’t recommended for this recipe.
You can make a very traditional homemade picante salsa — using charred tomatoes, bell peppers, and chilies — then pulverize it into a sauce in a food processor ahead of time — or simply purchase and use the equally traditional Pace Picante Sauce which contains no artificial additives. It is also traditional to use Rotel brand diced tomatoes with chilies, but I find that most store brands work just as well with no change in flavor.
You may use garlic powder or roast fresh garlic. Directions and recommendations for roasting garlic are provided at the bottom of this page. Recommendations for roasting garlic for use in traditional Tex-Mex cuisine varies slightly from what is more often used in other cuisines.
2 tablespoons canola oil
1-1/4 cups uncooked yellow rice (may substitute white rice)
1 cup chicken broth (if necessary may substitute vegetable broth or water)
1/2 cup Pace Picante Sauce (or ahead of time you can make a very traditional homemade picante using charred tomatoes, chilies, and bell peppers)
1 can (10 ounces) Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies, drained
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons cumin
1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or crushed red pepper flakes)
1 to 2 roasted garlic cloves, crushed (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
3 to 4 Tbsp. green onion, chopped
3 to 4 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, to taste, optional
1/2 to 1 teaspoon lime juice, to taste, optional
Plus, additional green onion and/or cilantro for garnish, optional
Add the canola oil and rice in a 3 to 4 quart Dutch oven pot on medium high heat, stirring until opaque, about 3-4 minutes.
Add broth and increase heat to high. Bring to a rapid boil, then lower the heat to a simmering boil.
Add in the remaining ingredients.
Cover, cook 20 minutes, then let rest an additional five minutes covered before fluffing. Do not remove the lid while cooking nor while resting!
Pour into serving bowl.
If desired, may garnish with additional fresh green onion and/or cilantro.
Yield: 8 servings
Electric pressure cookers (i.e. Instant Pot):
It actually takes longer to prepare in an electric pressure cooker with the added time needed to pressurize and vent.
For most brands, the rice settings require the exact same amount of cooking time (20 minutes) as the stove top method but additional time is needed for pressurization and venting to occur that is not required with stove top method, plus, the rice may need to rest twice as long uncovered to finish absorbing the moisture or for the moisture to evaporate.
Also, depending upon of the size and brand of the cooker being used, the rice may or may not always absorb all of the liquid required for the traditional recipe so then additional time is needed to simmer uncovered to reduce the excess liquid.
Altering the ingredients to adjust for such variations may also alter the taste of the recipe.
For these reasons, it is recommended you try it out ahead of time before attempting for a special occasion to see how it fairs first — or, better still, simply make it using the traditional stove top method.
I have made it successfully using two different electric pressure cookers (a 6 and a 6-1/2 quart) without having an excessive liquid left behind — but from start (prep) to finish (pouring it into a serving bowl) — it took a total of 45 and 59 minutes — instead of the usual 30 minutes total to simply make it on the stove top.
It did not fair as well in a third similarly sized but of a different brand — taking total of 1-1/2 hours — from prep to putting it in a serving bowl — due to the time required to reduce an excess of liquid — while the usual colorful chunks of tomatoes and chilies and other normally seen items totally disappeared.
Because the traditional stove top requires no stirring or checking and is already hands free as well as faster, I really see no benefit to using an electric pressure cooker for this particular dish — unless somebody simply doesn’t have a watch or has no alarm to alert them when it is time to take it off the burner.
If that is the case or you really want to give it a try:
Use the browning setting to stir the rice in oil until opaque.
Add all of the ingredients, use the rice setting to cook, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for venting.
Remove lid, stir, and allow rice to sit 5 to 10 minutes to absorb any remaining moisture before fluffing.
If it soupy with excess liquid or too much moisture remains after 10 minutes, turn on the browning setting again and allow to simmer without lid stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced. Alternately, use the deep frying setting if available, without the lid, and stir frequently or continuously.
Either way, if your particular size or brand leaves you with too much liquid — you completely loose the benefit of hands off cooking as well as even more lost time — taking up to as much as an hour and half to prepare, pressurize, cook, vent, reduce the liquid, and put it into a serving bowl.
To roast garlic:
Preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
Place in clay garlic roaster — OR — place all of the cloves removed from a whole head of garlic into a foil packet — with 2 tsp. olive oil, or if using within 3 to 4 days, may roast in 2 tsp. unsalted butter if desired.
The butter lends a somewhat nuttier flavor better suited to Tex-Mex cuisine whereas olive oil is better suited to Italian and other cuisines. However, you may use olive oil roasted garlic without ruining the recipe.
Do not attempt to peel the individual cloves out of their sleeves after separating.
Seal the foil packet if using and place in oven in the middle of the center rack that has been preheated to 425 F degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until tender.
Remove, poke hole in foil with a sharp pointed knife to create a steam vent, and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before carefully cutting open.
When fully cooled, simply squeeze to easily pop cloves out of their individual sleeves or peels.
Roasted garlic cloves will keep up to one week refrigerated until ready to use if kept in a small airtight container with enough olive oil added to cover. Remove desired quantity from olive oil and pat dry with a paper towel to drain off excess oil before using. If butter roasted, do not cover in olive oil, store in airtight container for 3 to 4 days refrigerated.
If unable to use before the indicated time, remove from olive oil if required and pat dry with paper towel to remove excess olive oil, wrap individual portions in plastic wrap, and place in a small freezer safe container or freezer bag to be frozen until needed. Allow to thaw before mincing or crushing with a knife or garlic press — unless using whole — or may be run through food processor to mince while still frozen, or may be hand grated.
It takes very little time thaw if place zippered plastic bag under hot running tap water, or place in a bowl of warm water, or it can be placed in refrigerator the night before.