Spanish rice is one of those dishes that is served at most Mexican restaurants. But, making it at home yields a zesty dish that goes perfectly with everything from steaks to chicken to burritos.
A version of this recipe first appeared for American audiences in the 1953 edition of the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. At the time the US was having a deep love affair with both Italy and Spain. As such tomato-based recipes began to feature on many a household table. And, despite being an older recipe this is one that stands the test of time.
The addition of beef into this rice is what elevates it to the level of being company worthy. Some budget versions use potatoes instead of beef or simply have tomato sauce and chilis in the mix. But, this recipe has celery, green peppers, beef, and canned tomatoes for a robust flavor. Honestly, if you’re not having company you could absolutely have this with a side salad and call it dinner.
To begin making this dish you’ll need to sauté some garlic and chopped celery in a large skillet. Once they’ve cooked a bit add in your rice, undrained canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices. Then allow this to simmer for 10 minutes. This starts the cooking process on the rice, without which the rice would be uncooked even after the next step of baking.
The spices in this recipe are onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, and a bit of cayenne. But, it’s not a spicy dish at all- just very flavorful. A single bay leaf adds a bit more depth to the flavor, too.
While your tomato-rice mixture is cooking you’ll sauté the beef and green pepper together until the beef is browned. Then add this to the other pan along with some beef or chicken stock.
The final step is to bake this for all the flavors to come together and really cook into the rice. What you end up with is a hearty, flavorsome dish that’s perfect for when you have company over -or any other night of the week, too.
Company Spanish Rice
15m prep time
1h 7m cook time
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
- 2 1/2 cups canned tomatoes (undrained)
- 2/3 cup tomato paste
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 cups hot water
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 cup (12 oz) beef or chicken stock
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a large , oven-safe skillet heat oil over medium heat and add garlic and celery. Cook for 2 minutes. Add in rice, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, bay leaf, cayenne, and hot water. Stir well and cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- In a separate pan combine beef and bell pepper. Cook over medium heat until beef is browned (about 8-10 minutes). Remove from heat. Add in chili powder, sugar, and stock. Pour beef and pepper mixture into tomato-rice pan.
- Bake covered for 35-40 minutes adding more stock if mixture dries out part way through cooking.
Recipe adapted from Sage Lilleyman.