I have always been a huge fan of my sister Monica’s Puerto Rican Rice. Recently, I decided to upgrade it to more of a pilaf-style rice that has fluffier, more separated rice grains as opposed to sticky rice. Baked Puerto Rican Rice was the result and it does not disappoint! It’s also easier to make than the original because baking the rice in the oven ensures evenly cooked, soft rice every time.
This recipe requires a particular kind of seasoning, Goya Sazon Culantro Y Achiote. It is available in the Hispanic food section of many grocery stores or Wal-Marts with groceries. It is also available online. One box contains 8 packets, enough to make a double-batch of the rice. I have a picture of the seasoning at the end of this recipe.
One important step listed in this recipe is rinsing the rice. The easiest way to rinse rice is to put it in a fine-mesh strainer and place it under running water until the water runs clear. This washes away all the excess starch and is crucial to fluffy, separated grains of rice. Yes, you will also wash away any nutrients added during the enrichment process. However, you can read the label to see what you are washing down the drain and maybe you will be okay with it. I know I am. I get more out of a daily multivitamin than enriched white rice!
There is also a lot of opportunity for customization here. You can easily use a regular can of corn and throw in some diced bell peppers instead of using Mexicorn. I also made a version with peas and carrots one time which was really good (it reminded me of the rice served in many Mexican restaurants). Or, use brown rice instead of white rice, keeping in mind that the brown rice will take much longer to cook.
- ½ lb. ground pork sausage
- 1 c. onion, diced
- ⅓ c. vegetable oil
- 1 c. long-grain white rice, rinsed
- 2 c. water
- ¼ c. sliced pepperoncini
- ¼ c. pepperoncini juice from jar
- 4 packets of Goya Sazon Cilantro-Achiote Seasoning
- 1 – 11 oz. can Green Giant Mexicorn, drained
- 1 c. cilantro, chopped
- Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium skillet, brown pork and onion. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or a 3-quart stock pot until shimmering. Add rice and sauté, stirring frequently, until light golden in color, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in browned pork and onion, water, pepperoncini, pepperoncini juice, Goya seasoning, and corn. Bring to a boil.
- Cover and bake until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and fluff with a fork. Fold in cilantro and serve.