In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes with the onion, garlic, and salt until smooth. Pass the puree through a strainer into a large liquid measuring cup; note the amount and reserve. Pour enough chicken broth into another liquid measuring cup to make 4 cups liquid total. Keep the two liquids separate.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice becomes milky white, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the tomato puree, mix gently, and cook until the puree darkens, thickens, and has mostly been absorbed by the rice, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the chicken broth and add the parsley and pickled jalapeños, as well as the carrots, peas, and corn, if using. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed but there is still some moisture in the pan. If rice is not cooked and tender but all the liquid has been absorbed, add the 2 tablespoons of water, cover again, and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and let the rice rest, covered, for at least 5 minutes.
Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
Arroz Rojo, or Red Rice, is how Mexican Red Rice is known in a few Latin American countries. Especially in Mexico, this side dish is part of almost every family menu in many households. This popular recipe is usually prepared with long grain white rice. This type of grain helps soak up all those irresistible flavors from the combination of the tomato-based purée and chicken broth, all while remaining light and separate with its characteristic fluffy texture.
To boost flavors, cook the grains in a flavorful stock or broth rather than plain water. If you don’t have any broth on hand, you can heat water and dissolve a chicken bouillon cube for a similar effect. When combining broth with strained tomatoes, onion and garlic, make sure to taste and adjust the salt and pepper so your rice is properly seasoned.
This recipe by Chef Pati Jinich also packs a kick since pickled jalapeños are added while the grains are cooked. You can add whatever vegetables you have in your fridge – or in the pantry! Have an extra can of corn or peas? Toss them in for extra flavor.
Other than a fragrant and flavorful side, arroz rojo is also great to stuff burritos or tacos. So whip up an extra batch and have it ready in your fridge to make your meals a little more special.
For a tasty kitchen tip, whenever you are cooking your preferred chicken recipes, even if it only calls for chicken breast, we suggest buying the entire bird. Use the pieces you need and save the bony or leftover ones to prepare a rich and flavorful stock.
The other ingredients you will need for added nutrients and taste are vegetables (the odds and ends work great for homemade broth) like celery, carrots and onions, fresh or dry spices such as thyme, rosemary and peppercorns, salt to taste and water. Combine everything in a heavy bottom pot, a Dutch oven or a soup kettle and simmer in low heat for a few hours. If you see a white foam forming on top of your liquid, skim it off with a spider spoon or a ladle.
Let it cool down, take the chicken pieces out and save the meat for any recipe that calls for shredded chicken – like these Cheesy Chicken and Rice Quesadillas –, discard the bones and any remaining vegetables by straining your broth. You can use it throughout the week or save for later by freezing in sealed tight containers or freezer bags. Remember to label them with the date!
Cooking your grains in broth instead of water does make a difference in flavor – did you know this is one of the secrets when preparing delicious Spanish Paella?