Please ask yourself how many times you have made gorditas for dinner and have not prepared the appropriate sides for them.
Actually, I have never made gorditas, but I have made tacos about 37 times, and there have been more than a few times that I have not had the perfect side for them.
Those days are over.
Lovely arroz rojo has come into my life, and from now on, that is what I shall serve alongside my tacos.
Now I just have to figure out how to make a gordita.
Arroz Rojo (Red Tomato Rice)
~adapted from Mexico One Plate at a Time, by Rick Bayless
4-6 plum tomatoes or 2 medium round tomatoes, very ripe, cored and chopped
OR a 15 oz. can whole tomatoes in juice, drained
½ small white onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 ¾ cups chicken broth
1 ½ tbs. vegetable oil
1 ½ cups white rice
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch cubes
3 serranos or 2 jalpeños, a slit cut down the length of each one
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (I going to try cilantro next time and see how it goes)
1 ½ cups defrosted frozen peas or cooked fresh peas
Combine the tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a food processor or blender. Blend into a smooth puree. Reserve about 1 cup.
In a medium saucepan that has a tight fitting lid, heat the oil over medium over heat. When the oil is hot, add the rice and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the grains turn from translucent to milky-white. Add the tomato mixture and the carrots, stir until mixed, and cook about 2-3 minutes until the liquid is reduced.
Meanwhile, heat the broth in the microwave. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and stir until the salt is dissolved.
When the tomato mixture is looking dry, add the salted broth, chiles, and parsley, stir thoroughly and cover the pan. Cook the rice on low, low heat for 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, uncover it and quickly strew the peas over the top of the rice. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
If the grains of rice are still hard, re-cover the pan and set it on low heat for another five minutes. If they are dry, you can add one or two tablespoons of water before you put it back on the heat.
When the rice is done, fluff it with a fork to release the steam. Pour into a warm bowl and serve. You can remove the chiles and discard them, or you can put them on top of the rice as a garnish. Pretty garnish.