Time Machines: Mexican Rice is Tastier than Fiction

Pictured (from left to right) my little brother Roque, sister Maria, not so little young me, mom Julia, dad Pedro Jr. Hopefully, if you know any one thing about me, you know that I have a ferocious love and affection for books. I love fiction. I love non-fiction. I love books. Okay, on to the rest of the story. As far as I know (who knows what the government has hidden away LOL) time machines only exist in books. H.G. Wells is the man and The Time Machine is a classic and everyone who claims to be a reader should read it. However, as good as H.G.W. is at taking me on a voyage through time, he can't approach what Mexican rice does for me. Man, I'm telling you. As soon as the smell of the rice, onion and garlic hits my smeller, well, it's like a mad rush of crazy cosmic energy that rushes me to my childhood. I'm not sure if you have ever watched it, but it's a lot like the TV show Stargate. I get snatched up in this roller coaster type of tunnel with bright lights and whooshing sounds. When it's all done, I'm like 7 years old and standing next to my momma as she makes rice for

the second time this week. The smell of frying onions massages my nostrils and I hug my mom and rest my head on her hip. She says, “Some day you are going to make rice for yourself mijo (son).” I take it all in with a deep breath and smile. I hope you enjoy this simple Mexican fair. Serve it as a side instead of boring white rice whenever you're in the mood for something with a little more pizazz. Arróz a la Mexicana, Estilo Norteño de Coahuila (Mexican Rice in the Northern Coahuila style) 2 tablespoons canola oil 2 cups basmati rice (or long-grain white rice) ½ medium onion diced 2 garlic cloves minced 1 small can tomato sauce 1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock salt and pepper to taste 1. First dice your onion, mince the garlic, and open your can of tomato sauce. 2. Heat oil on medium high, in a pan (big enough to hold 6 cups liquid) till it shimmers. (BEFORE YOU START: If you're not sure about the size of your pan, check the bottom of the pan or measure 6 cups of cold water into the COLD pan.) 3. Add dry raw rice and fry till it starts to brown. 4. Add the onions once the rice starts to brown. Toss with the rice to coat onions with the oil. Fry for a couple of minutes till fragrant. 5. Add garlic. Fry for a minute. 6. All at once add tomato sauce and chicken stock. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Let it boil over medium high heat until the rice STARTS to fill the chicken stock and you can see the grains near the top of the stock. (Watch the video to see what I mean.) 7. Turn the heat down to low and cover. Let it simmer for 10 to 20 minutes until all the stock evaporates. (Check the video to see what I mean.) 8. OPTIONAL: Let the rice rest for 10 minutes once the liquid has evaporated.

Make it your own with Variations:
1. You can skip the oil if you have a good nonstick pan. It will not be as flavorful, but it will be healthier. Even made this way it kicks plain white rice's butt in flavor imho. 2. Make Arróz con Pollo (Chicken with Rice). Brown four chicken thighs, breasts, or 6 drumsticks before adding the rice. Take the meat out once it is browned and set aside. Add back in once you put in the chicken stock and finish as above. 3. Use any rice you want, white long grain, brown rice, medium grain rice, whatever.

Follow the directions on the package for how much water to use and times. 4. Use more or less onion. Just don't omit the onion. It just wouldn't be right. If you do make it without the onion, don't tell me about it. I might cry or something LOL. If you really detest onions then try shallots. They are mellower than onions. 5. Use ¼ teaspoon garlic powder or garlic salt instead of fresh garlic. 6. Use 1 or 2 medium fresh tomatoes instead of the sauce. DO NOT substitute a small can of tomato paste. It's a total different animal. Try using 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste if that is all you have. Just make sure it gets fully dissolved. 7. You can use 4 cups water plus four chicken bouillon cubes in place of the stock. 8. Use 4 cups water plus chicken base instead of the chicken stock. 9. Use seafood stock in place of the chicken stock. 10.Use beef stock in place of the chicken stock. 11.Use veal stock in place of the chicken stock 12.Use vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock. 13.Add 1 packet Sazón Goya with the stock. I like the one with culantro y achiote (Coriander and Annatto)

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