Rice & Grains

Dirty Rice with Clams

Dirty Rice with Clams
Print Recipe
4.6 from 5 votes

Dirty Rice with Clams

Dirty Rice with Clams recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 9, Episode 8 "Super Sonoran"
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Almejas, arroz, chile colorado, clams, Colorado chiles, dirty rice, guajillo chiles, Mahatma Rice, Mexican rice, Mexico, new mexico, pati’s mexican table, Sonora, Sonoran
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 5 dozen littleneck clams
  • 2 dried Colorado, New Mexico or guajillo chiles stemmed and seeded
  • 1 pound ripe roma tomatoes
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt divided, or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped leeks white and light green parts
  • 2/3 cup peeled and finely chopped carrots
  • 2/3 cup white wine or light beer
  • 1 to 2 cups water or your choice of chicken, vegetable or seafood broth, or as needed
  • 2 cups Mahatma® Rice white rice or jasmine white rice
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro leaves or a combination of both for garnish

Instructions

  • Rinse and scrub the clams under a thin stream of cold water. Discard any that are open or broken. Drain well.
  • Place the chiles, tomatoes and garlic cloves in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the chiles have plumped and rehydrated and the garlic and tomatoes are fully cooked, soft and mushy, but not falling apart. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes, chiles and garlic to a blender, along with 1 cup of the cooking liquid, and allow to cool slightly. Add the cumin, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt. Puree until completely smooth. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat in a large wide casserole or lidded sauté pan. When the butter begins to foam add the onion, bell pepper, leek and carrot, and cook, stirring often, for about 5 to 6 minutes, until the vegetables have fully softened and begun to lightly brown along the edges. Stir in the wine or beer and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and simmer until the wine or beer has just about evaporated, about 4 to 5 minutes. The vegetables should be quite soft and moist but not wet.
  • Pour the tomato puree over the vegetables, bring to a boil and add all the clams. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until the shells open. Turn off heat and leave undisturbed for 5 more minutes. Uncover and, using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove all the clams and place in a bowl. Transfer the sauce and vegetables to a bowl or a large heatproof measuring cup and wipe the casserole or sauté pan clean. Add enough water or broth to the sauce to measure 5 cups.
  • Remove about 3 dozen clams from the shells and discard the shells.
  • Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in the casserole or sauté pan until hot but not smoking. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until it crackles, becomes milky white, and feels heavier as you stir it, about 3 to 4 minutes. Don’t let it brown. Stir in the reserved sauce and veggies and the remaining teaspoon salt. Stir well, add all the clams, both shelled and those still in their shells, bring back to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the rice has cooked. Taste the rice, and if it seems a bit too dente or not fully cooked and all of the liquid has almost evaporated, add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup water or broth, scrape the bottom, cover and cook for a few more minutes.
  • When ready to serve fluff with a fork, garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro or both and dig in.

Notes

Arroz con Almejas

Rice with Lentils and Caramelized Onions

rice with lentils and caramelized onions
Print Recipe
4.6 from 5 votes

Rice with Lentils and Caramelized Onions

Rice with Lentils and Caramelized Onions recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 9, Episode 6 "Sonoran Family Favorites for Sami"
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: caramelized onions, lentils, Mahatma Rice, Mexico, pati’s mexican table, rice
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lentils rinsed and drained
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 large white onions coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups Mahatma® Rice jasmine white rice or extra long white rice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ancho chile or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
  • 5 cups chicken broth vegetable broth or water

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water with the bay leaves to a boil. Add the lentils, reduce the heat to medium, cover partially with a lid and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are just cooked and tender but not mushy or falling apart. Drain, remove the bay leaves and set aside.
  • In a large wide casserole or heavy sauté pan that has a tight fitting lid, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. The onions will first soften and become translucent and then they will brown, which is what you want. Stir and make room in the middle, add the remaining olive oil, and add the rice. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, gently stirring with the browned onions. The rice will quickly change from a grayish white to a bright white color and feel heavier in the spoon. Don’t let it brown. Make room in the middle once again, and add the cooked lentils, cumin, oregano, ground ancho chile, turmeric, coriander and salt, and stir well. Add the broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting, cover, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until most or all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Remove the lid and check to see that the rice is cooked. If it is, fluff with a fork, and serve. If it is still a bit al dente, add a couple of more tablespoons of water, cook for a few more minutes, and test.
  • Taste and adjust salt, and serve.

Notes

Arroz con Lentejas

Homemade Horchata

Horchata
Print Recipe
4.72 from 7 votes

Homemade Horchata

Homemade Horchata recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 8, Episode 6 “El Fuerte, Magic Town”
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: canela, ceylon, cinnamon, horchata, milk, pati’s mexican table, rice
Servings: 8 1/4 cups approximately
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Mahatma® Rice white rice
  • 1 stick canela ceylon or true cinnamon, broken into pieces
  • 3 cups boiling hot water
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar

Instructions

  • Place the rice and cinnamon in a heatproof bowl and cover with the hot water. Let sit anywhere from 2 to 8 hours.
  • When ready to puree the mixture, add the milk and sugar to the rice mixture and stir well. Place in a blender, in batches, and completely puree. Strain into a pitcher as you move along. Serve over ice filled glasses and/or store in the refrigerator.

Notes

Horchata Casera

Café Horchata

Cafe Horchata
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Café Horchata

Café Horchata recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 8, Episode 6 “El Fuerte, Magic Town”
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: canela, ceylon, cinnamon, coffee, espresso, horchata, milk, pati’s mexican table, rice
Servings: 1 serving
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pour horchata into a glass filled with the ice. Pour in the espresso, stir and drink!

Notes

Horchata con Café

Mexican-Style Rice Pudding

Mexican-Style Rice Pudding
Print Recipe
3.86 from 7 votes

Mexican-Style Rice Pudding

Mexican-Style Rice Pudding from Pati’s Mexican Table, Season 7, Episode 3 "Ensenada’s Epic Seafood"
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cinnamon, pati's mexican table, rice pudding
Servings: 6 to 8 Servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Mahatma® Rice white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Full rind of an orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick about 2” long
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup raisins optional
  • Fresh fruit such as berries optional
  • Whipped cream optional
  • Ground cinnamon to taste to sprinkle on the end optional
  • Chocolate syrup optional

Instructions

  • Place the rice in a thick saucepan, cover with the water and place over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes. Incorporate the milk, the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, rind of an orange, cinnamon stick, salt and sugar.
  • As soon as it starts simmering, reduce the heat to low. Once the rice is cooked through and soft, anywhere from 35 to 40 minutes, turn off the heat. If you wish to add raisins, do so at this point.
  • There should still be a considerable amount of liquid in the pot. Once the rice cools down, it will puff up and the liquid will be further absorbed.
  • You can serve the arroz con leche with fresh fruits such as berries, whipped cream, sprinkled ground cinnamon, or for a more over the top concoction, with chocolate syrup!

Notes

Arroz con Leche

Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice
Print Recipe
4.67 from 6 votes

Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 7, Episode 7 "La Paz: The Heart of Baja Sur"
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: coconut, pati's mexican table, rice
Servings: 6 Servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Mahatma® Rice jasmine white rice or extra long white rice
  • 1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup cream of coconut
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
  • Salted and toasted coconut flakes to garnish

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until it becomes milky white, crackles and feels heavier as you stir it, about 3 minutes. Make room in the center of the pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring and mixing with the rice, until the onion begins to soften.
  • Add the chicken broth, cream of coconut and salt and stir well. Raise the heat to high, bring to a rolling boil, stir, cover and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Simmer 12 to 15 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed but there is still some moisture in the pan. The rice should be cooked and tender; if it is not, but all the liquid has been absorbed, add 2 tablespoons of water, cover again, and cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let the rice rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, garnish with salted and toasted coconut flakes, and serve.

Notes

Arroz con Coco

Chipotle Butternut Squash Risotto

Chipotle Butternut Squash Risotto
Print Recipe
4.41 from 5 votes

Chipotle Butternut Squash Risotto

Chipotle Butternut Squash Risotto, from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 7, Episode 10 "Los Cabos by Land & Sea"
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: butternut squash, pati's mexican table, Recipe, rice, risotto, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 Servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (2 to 3 pounds) peeled seeded, cut into 1/4” dice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus 3 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt divided, or to taste
  • 6 to 7 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup requesón or mascarpone cheese
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sauce from chipotles in adobo
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped leeks
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Cotija cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh epazote leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

  • Set a rack in upper third part of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the butternut squash on baking sheet, drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with the chipotle chile powder and 1 teaspoon of the salt and toss. Place in the oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked and very soft. Scrape onto a bowl and set aside.
  • Pour the chicken broth into a saucepan set over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low.
  • While your both comes to a simmer, combine the requeson or mascarpone cheese with the sauce from chipotles in adobo and the maple syrup in a small bowl. Season with salt to taste and set aside.
  • Before moving on, be ready with your roasted butternut squash and chicken broth that should be at a low simmer, if need be, raise heat to medium.
  • Heat ¼ cup olive oil in an extended casserole or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Once hot, add the leeks, onion and ½ teaspoon of the salt, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until softened and wilted. Pour in the water and continue to cook and stir until the water has completely evaporated, the vegetables have become even softer, and they begin to glisten with the oil.
  • Incorporate the rice and stir well to combine with the vegetables and coat in the oil. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, stir, and cook 3 to 4 minutes. The rice should start to smell toasty, but it shouldn’t brown.
  • Pour in the wine, stir, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more until it completely evaporates, then immediately add a large ladleful of the simmering broth. Cook at a simmer until it is absorbed and you can see the bottom of the casserole when you stir.
  • Add the next ladle of broth, along with about a fourth of the roasted butternut squash, simmer and cook until the liquid is absorbed again. Repeat 3 more times, adding another ladle of broth and a fourth of the squash each time, until all the squash has been added.
  • Continue adding broth by the ladleful until the risotto is cooked al dente. Add a cup more broth and stir before you turn it off; it should be quite soupy, yet the broth should be thick.
  • You may have used only 6 cups of the broth or all 7 cups, depending on the heat of your stovetop and the weather where you live. What matters is the rice is still al dente and the consistency still seems a bit soupy.
  • Turn off the heat, top with the butter and the seasoned requeson or mascarpone cheese. Stir well to mix. Sprinkle on the grated cotija and the epazote and cilantro and serve.

Notes

Risotto de Calabaza al Chipotle

Arroz con Chepil

Print Recipe
4.84 from 6 votes

Chepil Rice

Chepil Rice recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 6, Episode 5 "From Pueblo to City"
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: arroz, Chepil, jalapeno, pati's mexican table, rice, serrano chiles
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups extra long white rice or white jasmine rice
  • 1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 serrano or jalapeño chiles finely chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup chepil or chipilin leaves or substitute for baby watercress

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until it becomes milky white, crackles and feels heavier as you stir it in the pan, about 3 minutes. Make room in the center of the pan, add the onion, garlic and chile, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring and mixing with the rice, until the onion begins to soften.
  • Add the chicken broth and salt and stir once. Raise the heat to high, bring to a rolling boil, add the chepil leaves, stir, cover and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Simmer 12 to 15 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed but there is still some moisture in the pan. The rice should be cooked and tender; if it is not, but all the liquid has been absorbed, add 2 tablespoons of water, cover again, and cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let the rice rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.

Notes

Arroz con Chepil 

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Rice

everything but the kitchen sink seafood rice stew
Print Recipe
4.8 from 5 votes

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Rice

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Rice recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 5, Episode 3 “Celestún: Coastal Cooking”
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: clams, epazote, garlic, grouper, jalapeno, mussels, pati's mexican table, red snapper, rice, rock fish, seafood, seafood broth, serrano chiles, Shrimp, squid, Tomatoes
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1 whole (about 3 pounds) white-fleshed, mild-flavored fish, such as red snapper, grouper, or rock fish, boned and filleted OR 1 pound fish fillets
  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles or to taste
  • 8 garlic cloves, 5 finely chopped, 3 peeled and left whole
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher or coarse salt or to taste, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound cleaned squid rinsed and sliced into 1/4" rings
  • 1 pound medium shrimp peeled, shells and tails reserved if making broth
  • 2 cups long or extra long white rice or jasmine rice
  • 5 cups seafood or fish broth homemade or store bought
  • 1 large fresh epazote sprig or 3 cilantro sprigs
  • 12 small to medium fresh clams scrubbed and rinsed
  • 12 small to medium fresh mussels scrubbed and rinsed

Instructions

  • NOTE: If you plan on making the seafood or fish broth, get the whole fish and ask your fish monger to clean it for you and to give you the head, bones and tail to use for the broth. Also, save the shrimp shells and tails to use in the broth, as well.
  • Cut the fish fillets so that you have 6 more or less equally sized pieces. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Place the tomatoes, jalapeños, and the 3 whole garlic cloves in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer until the tomatoes are fully cooked and very soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes, garlic cloves, and only 1 of the jalapeños (puree one chile at a time, taste for heat, and add the other if desired) to a blender, and add the onion and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Puree until completely smooth.
  • Rinse and dry the saucepan and heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in it over medium heat. Once hot, add the tomato puree and cover the pan partially with a lid, as the puree will sputter and jump. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, dark and fragrant, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • In a large, wide casserole, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil over high heat. Once hot, toss in the squid, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, add half of the finely chopped garlic, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove the squid and the garlic with a slotted spoon and place in a heatproof bowl.
  • Add the shrimp to the casserole, along with another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and half of the remaining chopped garlic, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring and flipping the shrimp over halfway through. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the bowl with the squid.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add 1/4 cup of the remaining olive oil to the casserole. Once hot, add the rice and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the casserole, until the rice is crackling and coated with oil, feels heavier in the pan as you stir it, and the color of the grains has changed from a pale white to a deep milky white.
  • Pour the cooked-down tomato puree over the rice; it will sizzle and smoke a bit, which is what you want. Cover partially with a lid and cook, stirring a couple of times, until the rice absorbs most of the sauce, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the seafood broth and stir the rice, scraping the bottom of the casserole. Add the epazote or cilantro sprigs and reduce the heat to medium-low. Gently arrange the reserved shrimp and squid on top of the rice, adding any of their juices from the bowl, as well as the clams, mussels and seasoned fish fillets.
  • Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and can be easily pulled apart with a fork, and the clams and mussels have opened up. Turn off the heat and serve immediately in soup plates. The rice should be tender and the mixture very soupy.

Notes

Arroz con Mariscos

White Rice with Toasted Angel Hair Pasta

white rice toasted angel hair pasta
Print Recipe
4.34 from 6 votes

White Rice with Toasted Angel Hair Pasta

White Rice with Toasted Angel Hair Pasta recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 1, Episode 11 “Middle Eastern Influences”
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken broth, fideo, lime, onion, pasta, pati's mexican table, rice
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 lb, or about 1, cup angel hair pasta broken into pieces
  • 1/4 cup white onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice optional
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt or to taste

Instructions

  • Soak the white rice in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. In a cooking pot, heat the oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the angel hair and fry for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. It should be browned but not burnt.
  • Incorporate the drained rice, cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice achieves a milky white color and it feels and sounds heavier when you move it.
  • Add the chopped onion and garlic, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour the water or broth over the rice, add the salt and lime juice, and once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover with the lid, and cook for about 20 minutes.
  • The rice is ready when the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender and cooked. Turn off the heat and keep it covered for at least 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Notes

Arroz Blanco con Fideos

Horchata with Cinnamon and Vanilla

horchata
Print Recipe
4.5 from 8 votes

Horchata with Cinnamon and Vanilla

Horchata with Cinnamon and Vanilla recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 1, Episode 10 “Cinnamon”
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time2 mins
Total Time2 hrs 2 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: ceylon, cinnamon, pati's mexican table, rice, vanilla
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long or extra long white rice
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1 cinnamon stick ceylon or true cinnamon, if you can
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • Ground cinnamon to sprinkle on top optional

Instructions

  • Place the rice in a bowl and cover with hot water. Roughly crumble a piece of true cinnamon into the rice mix (cassia will not let you break it…) and let is all sit and rest anywhere from 2 to 8 hours outside of the refrigerator.
  • Place half of the rice mixture in the blender with half of the milk and vanilla and blend until smooth, then strain into a pitcher or container (if using cassia cinnamon, remove it). Place the other half of the rice mixture in the blender with the remaining milk and the sugar, pure until smooth and strain into the same pitcher or container.
  • Stir well and serve over ice cubes, or place in the refrigerator until it is cold. Serve with more ice cubes to your liking, and sprinkle some ground cinnamon on top if you wish.

Notes

Horchata: Agua de Arroz y Canela

White Rice and Poblano Rajas Casserole

white rice poblano rajas casserole
Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

White Rice and Poblano Rajas Casserole

White Rice and Poblano Rajas Casserole recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 1, Episode 5 “Convent Food”
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Casserole, Corn, mexican crema, Oaxaca cheese, onion, pati’s mexican table, poblanos, queso fresco, rice, Tomatoes
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked Mahatma® Rice white rice
  • 2 tbsp butter and a bit more to butter the baking dish
  • 1 cup white onion slivered
  • 3 (about 3/4 lb) poblano chiles charred, skinned, stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup roma tomatoes chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels fresh, thawed from frozen or canned and drained
  • 1 tsp kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup Mexican style cream or Latin, creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco can substitute with farmers, or ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup Oaxaca cheese shredded

Instructions

  • Place the butter in a saute pan set over medium heat. Once it melts, add the slivered onion and allow it to sweat for about 12 minutes, until translucent and soft. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the chile poblano rajas or strips, corn, salt and black pepper and cook for about 3 more minutes. Add the cream and queso fresco and continue cooking, stirring from time to time, until the sauce thickens a bit and seasons, for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 8 x 11 or 9 x 9 baking dish. Layer the white rice in the baking dish and press it down gently with a spatula. Pour the poblano mixture on top. For the last layer, sprinkle the shredded cheese on top.
  • Bake the casserole in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese has completely melted. Serve hot.

Notes

Cazuela de Arroz con Rajas de Chile Poblano 

White Rice and Fried Plantains

Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

White Rice and Fried Plantains

White Rice and Fried Plantains recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 2, Episode 6 “Fonda Favorites”
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: celery, chicken broth, onion, pati's mexican table, Plantains, rice, serrano chiles, sour cream
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for frying plantains
  • 1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock prepared or homemade
  • 1 celery stalk cut in half
  • 1 fresh parsley sprig
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice or to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
  • 2 ripe plantains peeled and sliced
  • 1 serrano chile
  • sour cream to garnish, optional

Instructions

To prepare the rice:

  • Place the rice in a large bowl and cover with very hot water; let it soak anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring softly for 2 to 3 minutes. Incorporate the onion and stir, from time to time, until the rice begins to change to a milky-white color and feels and sounds heavier, as if it were grains of sand; about 3 to 4 more minutes.Pour in the chicken stock, along with the celery, parsley, lime juice, salt and whole chile.
  • When it comes to a rolling boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook until the rice is cooked through and the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. If the rice grains don’t seem soft and cooked through, add a bit more chicken broth or water and let it cook for another 5 more minutes or so.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork when ready to serve. Place the cooked plantains (below) on top. Place sour cream on the side for people to add to their rice and plantains if they like.

To prepare the plantains:

  • Note: The skin of the plantain should be almost entirely black when it is mature and ready to use in this recipe.
  • Peel the plantains and slice them diagonally into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  • In a sauté pan, over medium heat, add about 1/4-inch of oil. Heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the plantain slices and fry until browned but not blackened, about 2 minutes per side, the oil should be bubbling around their edges of the plantain slices as they cook.
  • Remove the plantains from the oil and drain them on a plate covered with paper towels.

Notes

Arroz blanco con plátanos fritos

Green Rice

Print Recipe
4.34 from 6 votes

Green Rice

Green Rice recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 4, Episode 5 “Tamaliza!”
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: basil, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, onion, pati's mexican table, rice, serrano chiles, Spinach
Servings: 3 1/2 cups
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

For the rice:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 1 clove garlic coarsely chopped
  • To taste kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 whole serrano chile

For the green sauce:

  • 3 cups packed baby spinach washed and drained
  • 1 jalapeno chile coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil or chopped cilantro or both
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • kosher or coarse sea salt to taste

Instructions

To make the rice:

  • Combine the water, onion, garlic and salt in a blender and puree until smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until it is translucent. (There should be an occasional crackle and sizzle, but don’t let your rice color and pop. This means you should lower the heat.)
  • Pour in the onion/garlic puree and add the whole chile. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked though.

To make the green sauce:

  • In a large saucepan, put enough water to cover the bottom, approximately 1/4 cup, add the spinach and set over medium heat. Cover and let cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2-3 minutes, checking to make sure the spinach looks bright green. If it turns a deep green, it has cooked for too long.
  • Put the spinach and water into a blender and add cilantro or basil, jalapeño and garlic cloves. Puree until smooth.
  • When you are ready to serve the rice, pour the green sauce over the rice and mix thoroughly, so all grains are coated in the sauce.

Notes

Arroz Verde, Recipe courtesy Tamara Belt

Orange Blossom Rice

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4.41 from 5 votes

Orange Blossom Rice

Orange Blossom Rice recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 4, Episode 2 “Adventures in San Miguel”
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken broth, orange, orange blossom water, pati's mexican table, pepitas, pumpkin seeds, rice, scallions
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 3 tablespoons corn or safflower oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 4 cups chicken broth store-bought or homemade, or veggie broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons orange blossom water or the rind of an orange (trying to get the least amount of white pith, mostly the orange peel), agua de naranjo o de azahar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw and hulled pumpkin seeds lightly toasted

Instructions

  • Place rice in a bowl, cover with hot water, and soak for about 5 minutes. Strain and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear; drain well. If you don’t have time to soak and drain the rice, you can skip this step…
  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or casserole, over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the drained rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice becomes milky white and feels heavy in the pan as you stir, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the scallions and stir and cook until softened, 2 to 3 more minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth, orange blossom water or orange peel, salt and stir. When the mixture starts to boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat to lowest setting and cook until the rice is cooked through and the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  • If the rice grains don't seem soft and cooked through, add a bit more chicken stock or water and let it cook for another 5 more minutes or so. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  • Serve and decorate with the lightly toasted pumpkin seeds.

Notes

Arroz con Flor de Azahar y Pepitas

Mexican Rice with Prawns

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3.5 from 4 votes

Mexican Rice with Prawns

Mexican Rice with Prawns recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 3, Episode 1 “Born in The Kitchen”
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: carrots, Corn, jalapeno, Mexican rice, onion, pati's mexican table, peas, rice, serrano chiles, Shrimp, Tomatoes
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long- or extra-long-grain white rice or jasmine rice
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes quartered
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth or enough to make 4total liquid including the strained tomato puree, see step 2 below
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup peeled and diced carrots optional
  • 1/2 cup shelled green peas fresh or frozen (optional)
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen (optional)
  • 1 whole jalapeño or serrano chile optional
  • 6 to 8 head-on prawns
  • Half a lime optional

Instructions

  • Place rice in a bowl, cover with hot water, and soak for about 5 minutes. Strain and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear; drain well. If you don’t have time to soak and drain the rice, you can skip this step…
  • In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes along with the onion, garlic and salt until thoroughly smooth. Pass through a strainer into a measuring cup and reserve. In another measuring cup, add enough chicken broth to make altogether 4 cups of liquid, but keep the 2 measuring cups separate.
  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or casserole, over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the drained rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice becomes milky white and feels heavy in the pan as you stir, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Pour in the strained tomato puree, mix gently and cook until the color of the puree darkens, thickens, and is mostly absorbed, about 3 to 4 more minutes. Stir in the pre-measured chicken broth and add the parsley, carrots, peas, corn and whole chile, if using.
  • Bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat, add the prawns, squeeze the juice of half a lime all over if using, cover, and reduce heat to the lowest setting. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, yet there is still some moisture in the pan. The rice should be cooked and tender; if not, but the liquid is totally absorbed, add a couple tablespoons of water, cover again, and continue to cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let the rice rest, covered, for at least 5 minutes before you fluff with a fork and serve.

Notes

Arroz Rojo con Camarones Gigantes

Tortillas: Make Flour Tortillas at Home

There are so many ways that you can have and enjoy tortillas de harina at home. You can make them the traditional way, the fast-track-modern way (if you have an electric tortilla maker such as the REVEL…), or buy them ready made at the store. Different from corn tortillas, which rule Mexico’s south and are made with a base of nixtamalized corn, flour tortillas rule Mexico’s north and are wheat flour based. The latter also have an element of fat (either lard, vegetable shortening or oil) and are milder, sweeter and softer.

Sometimes both kinds of tortillas, flour and corn, work interchangeably for a dish, say cheese quesadillas or chicken tacos, and may depend on the preference of the eater. However, beware, there are other times when either the flour or corn tortilla should be the prime choice. Take Chilorio, it needs to be tucked in a flour tortilla. Yet any kind of enchiladas, enfrijoladas, or casserole must, REALLY MUST, be made with corn tortillas because they withhold the sauce much better than wheat flour ones, and sweetness may be uncalled for.

I have been surprised with how many requests I’ve received from people on how to make “good tasting,” “authentic homemade,” “white flour” tortillas, being both, that one can find them already made at the stores practically all over the US, and that it is time consuming. That, being said, the feel and taste of a homemade tortilla de harina does happen to be a galaxy away from a store bought one. So, if you can spare the time, and you like playing with your hands, give them a try.

As you will see, the trick is not only in the right amounts of ingredients, it’s also in the kneading and mostly in the cooking: don’t over cook them or they will lose ALL their appeal.

Of course, once you master the technique, you can flavor them with ingredients like fresh or dried chiles, tomatoes and even nopales. You can also experiment with making them using whole wheat flour. Though, I do prefer the plain, original taste.

homemade flour tortillas

homemade flour tortillas
Print Recipe
4.43 from 7 votes

Homemade Flour Tortillas

There are so many ways that you can have and enjoy tortillas de harina at home. You can make them the traditional way, the fast-track-modern way (if you have an electric tortilla maker such as the REVEL…), or buy them ready made at the store. Different from corn tortillas, which rule Mexico’s south and are made with a base of nixtamalized corn, flour tortillas rule Mexico’s north and are wheat flour based. The latter also have an element of fat (either lard, vegetable shortening or oil) and are milder, sweeter and softer.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time2 mins
Course: Antojos, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: flour tortillas, Recipe, tortilla
Servings: 18 to 20 tortillas
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1 pound all-purpose flour or about 4 cups
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening or lard
  • 1 cup lukewarm water

Instructions

Traditional Version:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and vegetable shortening with your hands until incorporated. Slowly incorporate water to the dough, until it can come together into a ball. Transfer to the counter and knead for about 2 to 4 minutes, until it is smooth like play dough. (You may do the same process in a food processor, pulsing until dough is incorporated!)
  • Divide into 18-20 ball shaped portions. Set them on a floured board or plate, cover them with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let them rest for 25 to 35 minutes.
  • Heat your comal, or ungreased cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. On a floured surface roll out one of the balls with a rolling pin, rotating 5 or 6 times until you get a 6 to 7 inch circle. Lay tortilla on the already hot comal or skillet. You will hear a faint sizzle. After 30 to 40 seconds, when there are brown freckles on the bottom side and there is some puffing up in some areas of the tortilla, flip over. Cook for 30 to 40 seconds, until the other side is freckled and the tortilla puffs up, again, like pita bread. Don’t overcook, or they will become crisp and stiff (and lose all their appeal).
  • As they are ready, place in a tortilla warmer or clean kitchen towel. If you will not eat them within the hour, wrap them in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Reheat in a hot comal or skillet.

Fast-Track-Modern Version:

  • If you have an electric tortilla maker, such as the REVEL, instead of rolling them out with a rolling pin, place your flour dough balls in the tortilla maker, press for 1 to 2 seconds. This will roll and precook them; you will hear the hiss. Finish them off for about 30 seconds on each side on the comal or skillet, where they should also puff.

Easiest version:

  • Buy them already made at the store!

Notes

Tortillas de Harina

Make It, Freeze It, Take It: The Mexican Casserole

Every few months, my family gets together with a Latin group of friends and their families for a pot luck.

This winter it was our turn. As tradition goes, the host brings the main dishes to the table and the others bring the rest. I eagerly announced my plans to share Mexican casseroles, also called cazuelas, budines or pasteles. The Mexicans couldn’t hide their joy- “Pati! De veras? Budin Azteca? Cazuela de Tamal?!”- and quickly thought of other “very” Mexican sides to pair with them. The Argentines and Costa Ricans tried to understand what “Mexican casserole” meant and whether it was supposed to be any good. The Americans in the group (though they consider themselves Latin) were clearly not excited about it.

No doubt about it, casseroles have had their ups and downs in culinary history. Their weakest stand seems to have been in the United States, after being fashioned into “two-step-many-can” versions in the 1930 and ’40s. But think of all the bright stars in the casserole universe: French cocottes enveloped in mother sauces; British potpies encrusting fillings as wet as British weather; irresistible Italian lasagnas layered with pasta; Peruvian causas with seasoned meat encased in mashed potatos; Greek spanakopitas with an extra-savory cheese-spinach mix covered with phyllo dough; Middle Eastern moussakas stacked with layers of eggplant; and the not-so-well-known, yet gloriously tasty Mexican cazuelas…

All of those casseroles are assembled, baked and served in the same vessel, which makes them convenient, practical and savvy. They are cooked tightly covered without a hurry, giving their fillings time to become succulent with fully blended flavors. Then their messy beauty unravels on your plate. One has to wonder: Why don’t we see more of them around, when we all crave flexible meals that can be made in advance?

In the Old World, casseroles’ prestige may have peaked in the early Renaissance.They were served at royal feasts, with artful decorations fit for competitions and complex fillings; some even had live birds fly out of them with an exhilarating song as the first piece was cut. Such a high-pitched recipe is found in the first British cookbook published during the mid-16th century. It also was recorded as part of one of the most extravagant banquets ever: the wedding of Marie de Medici and Henry IV of France, held in 1600 in Florence. This theatrical dish might have inspired the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence,” in which “four and twenty blackbirds” are baked in a pie.

Fast-forward to 2009: British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal felt obliged to replicate it in his Medieval episode of “Heston’s Feasts” in England.

Surprisingly, I recently found the nursery rhyme’s muse of a pie in the anonymous 1831 Mexican cookbook “El Cocinero Mexicano.” I am always amazed at how ingredients and recipes hop around the globe. But this I found to be absurdly funny: As if Mexican cooks needed any more outrageous ideas of what to do with casseroles.

Centuries before Old World cooks were trying to impress guests with interactive creations, Mexicans were baking casseroles in underground pits and cooking them over rustic fires. The fillings might not have been able to take flight, but they did contain wild turkey, boar and/ or iguana.

The first version of a Mexican casserole seems to have been the muk-bil (literally, “to put in the ground”). Made by the Mayans on the Yucatan Peninsula since pre-Hispanic times, it is the King Kong of tamales. Truly gigantic. The corn dough wraps around a filling of turkey (after the Spanish arrived, chicken and pork were used as well) rubbed with a pungent paste seasoned with achiote (annatto) seeds, spices and tomatoes. It resembles the flavors of cochinita pibil, a robust Yucatan dish.

So prized was this tamal in ancient times that it was designated meal for major festivities, and it still is. You can bet there will be a lot of muk-bils made this year with all the talk of 2012 marking the end of the Mayan calendar. So it is the right time to head down there if you want a true taste.

This tamal is traditionally wrapped in fragrant banana leaves and baked underground, which gives it a smoky flavor.

Other tamal casseroles throughout Mexico have regional spins, ingredients and salsas. Just across the border in neighboring American states, tamal pie recipes appeared in cookbooks at least a hundred years ago. They called for cornmeal rather than fresh corn masa; the former leads to a much grainier and less fluffy result. That was probably because making masa from scratch involves the ancient nixtamalization process, which takes days (drying, soaking, cooking and grinding) to treat corn so that its nutritious content is fully exploited. It makes a masa so soft that it is practically airy. Today, outstanding instant masa flour that has already gone through that process is widely available, so it’s a snap to put together a real tamal casserole at home.

Here my go-to version: The masa dough is set in two thick layers that hold a rich and baroque filling, typical of the Mexican colonial era, when nuns used to combine Spanish and Mexican ingredients in their convent kitchens. The filling has a sauce made with my preferred pairing of dried chili peppers: sweet, almost chocolaty and prune-flavored ancho and mild, bright-tasting guajillo. It’s seasoned with onion, garlic, oregano, cloves, cinnamon and a pinch of cumin, then made hearty with juicy ground meat that is sprinkled with crunchy almonds, chewy raisins and salty manzanilla olives.

Just like a tamal casserole is a giant version of a tamal, a tortilla casserole is like a hefty stack of open-face tacos with layers of sauce and cheese. It’s a homespun version of tacos, one of the most sought-after street foods in my native country: Taco elements are layered in a cazuela, or earthenware pot. That takes away the hassle of making individual portions and allows for endless filling possibilites, just as with tacos and tamales.

The most popular casserole of them all has an imperial name: Aztec. It is traditionally made with corn tortillas, as they are much more resilient than flour tortillas. Think of a lasagna gone way down south, soaked in a spiced-up tomato sauce with handfuls of exuberant, fruity, addictive roasted poblano peppers and crunchy, sweet corn. Chicken is sometimes added to the mix, which is then bathed with Mexican crema and melty cheese. When I was growing up, and Aztec casserole was a must for successful potlucks.

Some versions use salsa verde or mole sauce instead of a tomato sauce, as well as other kinds of meats and vegetables. Good-quality corn tortillas can be found at the market, so there’s no need to make your own.

The rice casserole is the most modern of the three I’ve offered here. Brought over from Europe by the Spanish, rice has grown deep roots in Mexican cooking. The dish I have been obsessively repeating came about because I wanted to use the bounty of fresh mushrooms found in stores this time of year. Although I don’t have the wild varieties that crop up in Mexico’s rainy season, I have experimented with an accessible mix of mushroom textures and flavors, fresh herbs, epazote, cilantro, parsley, that salty crema and tangy cheese. This stew goes on top of the rice with a topping of grated dry and aged cheese. As the casserole bakes, the rice absorbs the flavored cream, the mushrooms meld with the sauce and the cheese morphs into a perfectly browned crust.

I’m wondering whether Mexican renditions can lend a bit of prestige to the state of casseroles in the United States. They certainly receive a royal welcome from my potluck friends, who heap seconds on their plates.

Article written for and published by The Washington Post. Photo taken by Deb Lindsey Photography www.deblindsey.com.

Meaty Tamal Casserole
Print Recipe
4.6 from 5 votes

Meaty Tamal Casserole

My go-to version of a tamal casserole: The masa dough is set in two thick layers that hold a rich and baroque filling, typical of the Mexican colonial era, when nuns used to combine Spanish and Mexican ingredients in their convent kitchens. The filling has a sauce made with my preferred pairing of dried chili peppers: sweet, almost chocolaty and prune-flavored ancho and mild, bright-tasting guajillo. It’s seasoned with onion, garlic, oregano, cloves, cinnamon and a pinch of cumin, then made hearty with juicy ground meat that is sprinkled with crunchy almonds, chewy raisins and salty manzanilla olives.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 45 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: ancho chiles, Casserole, Cazuela, guajillo chiles, masa, meat, tamal, Tamales, veal
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening or lard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 5 cups) corn masa flour for tortillas or tamales such as Maseca brand
  • 4 1/2 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth may substitute water

For the filling:

  • 8 dried guajillo chiles stemmed, halved and seeded
  • 8 dried ancho chiles stemmed, halved and seeded
  • 2 cups hot water or as needed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for the baking dish
  • 1 medium white onion chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground meat such as veal, turkey, beef, pork or a combination
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth may substitute water
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 3/4 cup pimento-stuffed manzanilla olives chopped

Instructions

For the dough:

  • Place the vegetable shortening or lard in the bowl of a stand mixer; beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until it is light and airy. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the salt and baking powder; on low speed, gradually add the corn masa flour and the broth in alternating additions, making sure each time that the addition is well incorporated. Beat for about 10 minutes to form a masa dough that is homogeneous and fluffy. Let the dough sit at room temperature while you make the filling.

For the filling:

  • Heat a comal (tortilla griddle) or skillet over medium heat. Add the guajillo and ancho peppers; toast them for about 15 seconds per side, until they become more pliable, lightly toasted and fragrant and their inner skin turns opaque. Transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with at least 2 cups of hot water. Cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the peppers have rehydrated, plumped up and softened.
  • Transfer the peppers and 2 cups of the liquid to a blender and add the oregano, cloves, cinnamon and cumin. Remove the center knob from the blender lid and cover the opening with a dish towel to contain splash-ups. Puree to form a smooth sauce. The yield is 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups.
  • Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring continuously, until the onions are cooked through and beginning to brown at the edges. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, less than a minute, then add the ground meat, salt and black pepper. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and using a spoon to break up the meat, until it has lightly browned. Add the sauce, the broth, raisins, almonds and olives, stirring to combine; reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the skillet and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Use a little vegetable oil to grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or the equivalent.
  • Spoon half of the prepared masa dough into the dish, forming a bit of a lip on the sides and gently leveling it out; don’t press hard. Spoon all of the meat filling on top. Cover evenly with the remaining dough. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour or until the masa is completely cooked and the top appears to be firm. Remove from the oven and let it sit, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Cazuela de Tamal
Chicken and Tortilla Aztec Casserole
Print Recipe
3.67 from 3 votes

Chicken and Tortilla Aztec Casserole

The most popular Mexican casserole of them all has an imperial name: Aztec. It is traditionally made with corn tortillas, as they are much more resilient than flour tortillas. Think of a lasagna gone way down south, soaked in a spiced-up tomato sauce with handfuls of exuberant, fruity, addictive roasted poblano peppers and crunchy, sweet corn. Chicken is sometimes added to the mix, which is then bathed with Mexican crema and melty cheese. When I was growing up, and Aztec casserole was a must for successful potlucks.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Aztec, Azteca, Casserole, Cazuela, chicken, chile, Corn, corn tortillas, Mexican lasagna, Poblano
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white onion chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes cored and pureed, or whole canned tomatoes, drained and pureed (to make about 5 cups tomato puree)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

For the tortillas:

  • 1 cup vegetable oil or more as needed, for frying the tortillas
  • 8 to 10 (9 ounces total) corn tortillas

For assembly:

  • 4 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 4 cups fresh corn may substitute frozen (see NOTES)
  • 1 pound poblano chiles roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into rajas (see NOTES)
  • 1 cup Mexican cream (crema) Latin-style cream, creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • 12 ounces (about 3 cups) grated Oaxaca, mozzarella, Monterey Jack or mild white cheddar cheese

Instructions

For the sauce:

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, oregano, bay leaf and salt and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and darkens in color. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf.

For the tortillas:

  • Cover a large plate or baking sheet with several layers of paper towels. Pour the oil into a medium 10-inch skillet to a depth of 1/4 inch (about 1 cup). Heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, about 2 to 3 minutes. Working with one tortilla at a time, use a pair of tongs to pass the tortilla through the oil for 10 to 15 seconds per side; this will make the it pliable and resistant to the sauce. The tortilla will first appear to be softening and then will become barely crisp, and its color will darken. Drain on the paper towels.

To assemble:

  • Spread one-third of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or the equivalent. Cover with half of the cooked chicken, half of the corn, half of the poblanos and one-third of the cream and cheese. Top with half of the tortillas, tearing them into large pieces if needed to make an even layer without much overlap. Repeat, adding one-third of the tomato sauce; the remaining half of the cooked chicken, corn and poblanos; and one-third of the cream and cheese. Top with a layer of the remaining tortillas, the remaining one-third of the sauce and the remaining cream and cheese.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover the casserole dish with a lid or with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the lid or foil and bake for 15 minutes or until the top is bubbly and the cheese has melted. Serve hot.

NOTES:

  • To create rajas, or strips, char or roast the chiles, either by placing them under the broiler or directly on a grill or hot skillet. Roast for 6 to 9 minutes, turning every 3 to 4 minutes, until they are charred and blistered but not burned. Immediately place in a plastic bag; close the bag tightly and cover with a kitchen towel; this will facilitate skinning. One by one, remove each chili from the bag, peel off the skin and lightly rinse the chili with water. Cut out the stem and cut each pepper in half. Remove and discard the seeds, then cut the peppers into strips 1/2-inch wide and an inch long.
  • Frozen corn will make the dish watery if it is not precooked to remove moisture. First, defrost the corn completely. Heat a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter; when it has melted, add the corn and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Notes

Cazuela Azteca
Meaty Tamal Casserole
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Mushroom and Rice Casserole

Although I don’t have the wild varieties of mushrooms that crop up in Mexico’s rainy season, I have experimented with an accessible mix of mushroom textures and flavors, fresh herbs, epazote, cilantro, parsley, that salty crema and tangy cheese. This stew goes on top of the rice with a topping of grated dry and aged cheese. As the casserole bakes, the rice absorbs the flavored cream, the mushrooms meld with the sauce and the cheese morphs into a perfectly browned crust.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: arroz, Casserole, Cazuela, cheese, cheesy, Hongos, Mushroom, queso, rice
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter plus more for the baking dish
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium white onions chopped (2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or put through a garlic press
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper finely chopped (seeding optional if you want less heat; may add more to taste)
  • 2 pounds mixed mushrooms (such as white button, baby bella, portobello and shitake), cleaned, dry part of stem removed, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves and thin part of stems
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves and thin part of stems
  • 1 cup Mexican cream or Latin-style cream, or heavy cream
  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) farmers cheese or queso fresco crumbled
  • 6 cups cooked Mahatma® Rice white rice
  • 1 cup freshly grated queso anejo Parmigiano-Reggiano, or Romano

Instructions

  • Heat the butter and oil in a large, deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and stir to coat; cook for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are translucent and the edges begin to brown. Add the garlic and jalapeño or serrano pepper; cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Add all of the sliced mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper, and gently combine with the onions. Cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the mushrooms have exuded their juices and the flavors have melded. Uncover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until the juices have evaporated.
  • Add the cilantro and parsley, stirring to combine. Add the cream and the crumbled queso fresco or farmer cheese; stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined and the cheese has melted. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, adjusting the heat to keep the mixture barely bubbling at the edges. It should still be very saucy. Turn off the heat.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Use a little butter to grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or the equivalent.
  • Spoon the cooked rice into the baking dish and level it out without pressing down hard. Pour the mushroom-cilantro mixture on top and gently spread to level it. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and gently browned.
  • Serve hot.

Notes

Cazuela de Arroz con Hongos

Old World and New World: Yellow Rice

Though I am no painter, this I know to be true:

Throw in four primary colors onto a painting palette and mix randomly. Whatever combination you come up with, there will be a Mexican rice that catches the spirit of those tones.

Red rice, cooked in a rich base of tomato puree, onion and garlic, and sometimes chopped vegetables.  Depending on the cook and the style, sometimes red rice may end up a bit on the orange side. Green rice, either based on Poblano chile, cilantro, parsley or a combination of those, giving a beautiful range of flavors along those grassy lines.  Black rice, seasoned with cooking broth from beans in the pot. White rice, the classic yet flavorful Mexican take that can be an unpretentious yet comforting side to almost anything. And we are not even getting started.

What many people don’t know is that Mexico also has its versions of Yellow rice.

From the two main kinds of Yellow rice in Mexican cooking, one has a saffron base and the other an achiote or annatto seeds base. Ironically, although saffron was brought to Mexico by the Spaniards almost five centuries ago and achiote seeds are native to Mexico, it is the saffron based rice which is considered to be the Traditional Yellow Rice in regions like Yucatán.

Yellow Rice 1
But given saffron’s high price tag, many cooks opt for achiote which is ridiculously cheap. Although it can be sometimes a bit hard to find in mainstream stores, most Latino, international or ethnic stores have it. You can always opt to click an online button to find it too…

With a similar color, and the same range of flavors, achiote seeds are a great substitute.

Yellow Rice 2
The difference aside from price, is the way in which both ingredients are used to bring out their unique flavors, aromas and colors, when making rice.

Saffron threads are soaked in water…

Yellow Rice 3
…and added to the rice after it has been sauteed in oil and the broth poured on top….

Achiote seeds, instead, are sauteed in oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Once they paint the oil and let out their flavors, they are removed with a slotted spoon before they become too bitter and right before the rice is poured in the pan. Some cooks dilute powdered achiote seeds in water, which can also be found in some stores, and do the same as with saffron. I prefer the version that uses the whole seeds much more.

Both ingredients, one from the Old World and one from the New World, have hard to describe flavors that somehow escape my words. But let me give it a shot: A bit smokey, a bit pungent, a bit bitter and strong, with a defined personality. What’s more, both ingredients help make an exotic, beautiful and tasty Yellow rice.

Here is a take on the saffron based rice that I love and that won over a great crowd. Try it, then you can tell me if it is really that good, or it may very well be that the great crowd had been waiting too long to eat during class, and that’s why they liked it so.

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Yellow Rice

From the two main kinds of Yellow rice in Mexican cooking, one has a saffron base and the other an achiote or annatto seeds base. Ironically, although saffron was brought to Mexico by the Spaniards almost five centuries ago and achiote seeds are native to Mexico, it is the saffron based rice which is considered to be the Traditional Yellow Rice in regions like Yucatán.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken broth, garlic, onion, Recipe, rice, saffron, Tomato
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads crumbled, or may substitute achiote seeds
  • 2 tablespoons boiling hot water
  • 1 cup long or extra long white rice
  • 2 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
  • 1/4 cup white onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup red tomato chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced or pressed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt more or less to taste

Instructions

  • Place saffron threads in a small mixing bowl along with the boiling hot water. Mix and let soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Place rice in a bowl, cover with very hot water, and let soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain thoroughly.
  • Heat the oil in a 3 to 4 quart pan over medium-high heat. (If you are using achiote seeds instead of saffron, just let a teaspoon of them cook in the oil for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the rice). Once the oil is hot, add the dried rice and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Incorporate the onion, tomato, and garlic, stir, and continue to cook until the rice changes color to a milky white. It should sound and feel heavier, as if you were moving sand in the pot, about 4 to 5 more minutes.
  • Pour in the chicken broth, saffron mix, and salt and stir everything together. When the liquid starts to boil, cover the pot, lower the heat to low and continue cooking for about 20 more minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and the liquid has been mostly absorbed.
  • If the grains don't seem soft and cooked through, add a bit more chicken stock or water and let it cook for another 5 minutes or so. Turn the heat off and let it sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
  • Rice can be made ahead of time and reheated later the same day. Before reheating, add 1 tablespoon of water and heat, covered over the lowest heat possible. Once it has cooled down, it can be kept in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Notes

Arroz Amarillo

Unforgettable Rice from El Chepe

I wish each day had ten more hours so I could tell you about so many dishes already.

This is how behind I feel in all I want to share: Six weeks ago our family came back from the Copper Canyon in Mexico. I took notes, pictures, short videos, interviewed cooks, planted myself in their kitchens until forcefully uprooted by my husband, and ate like a mad woman from any interesting sounding dish, which was practically everything (partly with the purpose to come and tell you all about it…).

Then we came home, and life got in the way… I took longer to launch this site because I wanted to add more sections. By the time it was ready, so many weeks had gone by, I was eager to share more recent food excursions from my kitchen.

Yesterday, these red tomatoes reminded me of my delayed purpose. They looked perfectly ripe to become the base for that Mexican Style Rice we ate at the Chepe train (formally known as the Chihuahua al Pací­fico). It was unbelievable. Not only how good it tasted, but where and how it is made, every day.

Unforgettable rice from el chepe 2-thumb-510x342-1914
I expected to find scrumptious food along the Copper Canyon, but not aboard the train.  Used to pre-packaged sandwiches and microwaved hot dogs on the Amtrak, it was such a treat to choose from a full menu of home-style food.

As we sat on the cushy blue seats, we were amazed at how the individual place settings set on the wooden tables jumped without falling as the train rocked on the old wooden tracks.  With the light from the sun peeking through the window, the formally dressed waiters coming out of the kitchen appeared to step out from the Mexican 19th century, with charming mustaches in the like of the long gone Profirian era and all.

Unforgettable rice from el chepe 3-thumb-510x342-1916
More amazement, as they poured coffee, dancing as on a tight rope with the steaming pots at least 10 inches away from the cups they were aiming to fill. But even more amazement, after we tasted the food. Such good food on a train? I had puntas de filete with a side of refried beans, quesadillas and the best ever Mexican style rice. Even before dessert, this felt like a trip within the trip itself.

Each time, I would ask the waiter to introduce me to the cook in turn. There were not one but three cooks in a fully sized and stocked kitchen. Balancing as if on steady ground, up and down bridges, inside tunnels and around curves, they made some of the most comforting foods I can think of.

Unforgettable rice from el chepe 4-thumb-510x342-1918
Here is a tip:  when you go to the Chepe, disregard when train officers say the Restaurant is closed.  It seems to be a technique to help guests avoid long waits (or a bottleneck in the kitchen).  Go check it out yourself, there is typically no line and by the time they announce its open, the train ride may be over.  If you are not planning on going to the Chepe train soon, here is the recipe for that deliciously satisfying Mexican rice, shared by the chef in charge of the Chepe’s food and menu, Jesus Ley.

unforgettable rice from el chepe 5-thumb-510x342-1920
There are of course many variations to this dish. You can substitute fresh tomato puree for 1 1/2 cups of canned puree. Except for few rice dishes, I always add some fresh squeezed lime juice. It makes it crisp and helps the flavors of the other ingredients shine through, but it is optional.You can include the carrots and peas, exclude them or change that vegetable such as by adding green beans and red bell peppers.

And yes, that chile serrano you see in the picture is optional. You can omit it, substitute it for a jalapeño, and can add a couple more if you like. But if you are having Mexicans over, watch out: those chiles that have absorbed the flavors from all the ingredients in that pot, are the rice treasure we all hunt for.

mexican red rice
Print Recipe
4.17 from 6 votes

Mexican Style Rice

Arroz Rojo
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: carrots, chicken broth, lime, Mexican rice, pati's mexican table, peas, rice, serrano chiles, Tomatoes
Servings: 6 to 8 people
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long or extra long grain white rice
  • 2 tomatoes or about 1 pound, quartered
  • 1/3 cup white onion roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt or more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice optional
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • 3/4 cup carrots peeled and diced, optional
  • 1/2 cup shelled green peas fresh of frozen, optional
  • 1 or 2 chiles serranos optional

Instructions

  • In a bowl, soak the rice in hot water for about 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain very well.
  • While the rice soaks, purée the tomatoes in the blender along with the onion, garlic and salt. Pass through a strainer and reserve.
  • Heat the oil in a thick heavy skillet (if you have one with a transparent lid, pick that one) over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the rice and sauté, stirring often, until the color of the rice changes to a strong milky white and it shows more resistance and makes a heavier sound as you stir it around, probably about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Pour in the strained tomato purée, mix it gently and let it cook until the color of the purée has darkened, thickened and is mostly absorbed, about 3 more minutes.
  • Stir in the chicken or vegetable broth and lime juice, give it a gentle stir and top with the parlsey sprig, the diced carrots, peas and serrano chiles, if so desired.
  • Let it all come to a boil, and when it does, put the cover on and reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes. Here is where that transparent lid becomes so handy, as you can see what is going on inside the pot without losing steam. You know the rice is ready when it is cooked through and tender, most of the liquid has been absorbed, but there is a lot of moisture in the pot. If the rice is not yet tender and the liquid has dried up, add a couple tablespoons more water, cover again and let it cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Let the rice sit covered for at least 5 minutes before you fluff with a fork and serve. You may also make it beforehand and reheat it covered over low heat with a tablespoon of water.