Super Awesome Tex-Mex Style Rice Recipe
I love Tex-Mex. There are four generations of my family living in Austin, Texas, so I’ve eaten my share of it. (A lot, but not yet enough.) Yet, as much as I love all kinds of Tex-Mex, I’ve never, ever been able to get into the rice. It got to the point where, to save waste, I’d request they leave it off my plate, or give it to one of my kids. (Usually the one that doubles as a human garbage disposal.) It just wasn’t my thing. Until this weekend. This weekend, by some miracle, I managed to nail Tex-Mex style rice at home. (I know, I was shocked too. I even ate the leftovers for lunch the next day.)
It all started with my trying to cook more vegetarian meals. Partially so we can save a bit on the budget by shopping in bulk at our local farmer’s market, and partially, yes, because my kids (and I) are having a massive attack of compassion for the living things that live around us and, currently, also in my office. (There are 18 teenage chickens in my office. They are starting to stink and make a mess, but we like them anyway.) So, it made sense to try more vegetarian meal options. The first night went well, so I gave it another run the next night, and tried stuffing bell peppers with rice.
I figured that if I made it, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.
Look, I don’t know about you, but unflavored rice in a bell pepper just doesn’t do it for me, no matter how good the peppers are. (And these were REALLY good.) So I pulled out my trusty wok – if you don’t have one, damn, go get one, they are fabulous – and started guessing at what went into Tex-Mex style rice. I figured that if I made it, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.
Yeah, it was really good. At the request of friends, I’m writing it up here, with approximations for spices. I know all too well everyone has spice preferences, and beyond basic starting guidelines, I’mma let you rock your own flavor profiles. This will get you a good base. What you do from there will make it your own. So, without further ado, I present to you: Super Awesome Tex-Mex Rice for People Who Don’t Need Exact Measurements.
Super Awesome Tex-Mex Rice
for People Who Don’t Need Exact Measurements.
What You’ll Need and Details:
- Large cooking metal thing. //I prefer a substantial wok, you’re less likely to burn the rice and use less oil.
- 2c dry white rice & however much water you usually need to cook it. //Rinse well beforehand, and cook however you prefer. You want it done, but not mushy. If you’re not sure how, read the package.
- 1 large yellow onion. //Diced. How fine is your choice.
- 4 medium roma tomatoes. //Diced. I don’t recommend canned, not for this.
- 1 large green jalapeño. //Sliced 1/8″ rings, and chopped. Want more heat, add more peppers. I only had one, but three or four would have been tasty.
- 1-2T garlic. //I had powder on hand. Use whatever makes you happy. More won’t hurt. Fresh is tastier, obviously.
- 1-2tsp ground cumin. //I used to hate this stuff, but then I learned that I just didn’t like a LOT of it.
- 2-3T paprika. //Mostly for color. I am told it does actually have a flavor.
- 1T dried oregano. //Make sure it still smells like oregano, and hasn’t lost all it’s flavor.
- 1-2T of your choice of citrus juice. //We have varegated lemons out back, so I used a tiny one of those. They run on the sweet side, so lime works too. Do not recommend commercial orange juice, it’s a bit too sweet.
- Olive oil, enough to coat pan. //I was out of butter, or I’d have used that instead. Don’t use spray crap, the healthy fats are good for you.
- Salt, to taste.
What To Do & In What Order
- Cook rice.
- In your metal cooking thingy over medium-high heat add olive oil, onions and jalapeño. Cook, stirring frequentlyish, until onions turn clear.
- Add garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, continuing to stir.
- Add tomatoes and citrus juice, continuing to cook and stir until tomatoes release liquids and you end up with an almost saucy mess.
- Taste, and salt as needed.
- Add cooked rice, and reduce heat to low.
- Stir until all the rice is incorporated, and it soaks up all the tomato mess.
- Serve, and enjoy.
Did you try this? Did you enjoy it? What tweaks did you make? Comment and let me know what you thought!