Quick Spanish Tomato Rice

This rice dish is so easy and flavorful; it can be paired with any number of festive dishes, but also works wonderfully with just basic cooked pinto or black beans and a bit of salad or avocado. Some other pilaf and paella recipes will tell you to cook rice in the tomato & spice sauce. That does produce a tasty result but I actually prefer the convenience of cooking rice separately and preparing the sauce while the rice cooks. It’s quicker and simpler, and the spices retain more aroma because they are not cooked as long. But if you have the time, do try it both ways to decide which one is your favorite. If you happen to have a few cups of Red Chili Powder and Tomato sauce or salsa that you want to use up, you can use that in place of the spices and tomatoes. If you plan to mix lots of vegetables and beans into the rice you may want to increase the quantity of spices and oil somewhat (multiply by a factor of 1.5).

1.5 cups long grain rice (brown or white)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups tomato sauce or crushed tomato (e.g. 15 oz can)
1 Tbsp dry oregano
1 Tbsp coriander powder (optional)
2 tsp cumin powder
1 chopped Jalapeno chile or a pinch of cayenne
Optional: 1 cup chopped vegetables (peas, green beans, squash, etc.)
1 cup cilantro or finely chopped fresh parsley to garnish

Start the rice soaking and cooking (see the Pantry section for instructions on cooking different varieties of rice). Or get approximately 4 cups of already cooked and salted rice. In the meantime chop the onion and garlic. In a large pan on high heat sauté onion in oil until turning golden and then add spices and garlic.  Continue sautéing for a few more minutes. Finally add tomatoes and any vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes or so. Taste the sauce to make sure it’s salty enough. When your rice is ready add it to the sauce and mix gently but thoroughly. If you wish to combine with beans instead of serving them on the side, you can mix in 2 cups of black beans into the rice and keep cooking on low heat until warmed through. Garnish with fresh herbs.


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