Normally I'm not a big rice eater, but I have become hooked on a recipe given by Patricia Jinich of Pati's Mexican Table on Paula Deen's show. I've made it several times now and someone always asks for the recipe. My version is slightly modified from the original, Mexican White Rice with Fried Plantains. I use butter in place of the oil and leave out the celery and plantains all together. I'm sure the fried plantains would be tasty, but they are hard to find here. Butter, of course, always trumps oil and honestly, I've never really seen the point of celery.
By the way, Pati appears to be a really nice person in addition to being a mighty fine cook. I sent her a question about a recipe on her website and she answered me within a few minutes on a Sunday afternoon.
Mexican White Rice
modified from a recipe by Patricia Jinich
2 Cups long-grained rice
3 Tablespoon(s) butter
1/2 Cup finely chopped white onion
4 Cups chicken broth
5 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
2 whole serrano chiles
Heat the butter in a large saucepan, add the rice and fry over high heat, stirring softly for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onion and stir, from time to time, until the rice begins to change its color to milky white and it sounds and feels heavier, as if it were grains of sand, about 5 more minutes.
Add the chicken stock, cilantro, lime juice, salt and chiles to the rice. When the mixture starts to boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat to lowest setting and cook, stirring occasionally, 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. Remove the cilantro and chile. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
I like to tie the cilantro in a bundle using kitchen string. It gives a pleasant cilantro taste to the rice, but you can remove the wilted cilantro after the rice is cooked.
I've also found that if you slit the serranos lengthwise they impart more flavor into the rice.