Cheesy rice is definitely one of my guilty pleasures. What is cheesy rice, you ask? Well in my world, it’s rice smothered in queso. Sounds pretty good, right? I use a store bought safron rice (because it’s easy) in this particular recipe, but you can also use a Spanish or Mexican rice in its place. I add in some sautéed corn, spices, onion and cilantro for some extra flavor. Then I ladle in a couple scoops of my classic white queso. The skillet then goes into the oven to get all hot and bubbly… My mouth is watering just talking about it. Then I add a bunch of my favorite toppings – An over easy egg, a chipotle rubbed steak, some crispy tortillas and pico de gallo. You can really go in any direction with the toppings… it’s all about preference! You can even substitute steak for chicken or shrimp.
Although this skillet has an egg on top… I definitely think of it as dinner. It’s so hearty and delicious and super fun to serve in individual portions. You can of course do a large baking dish of the rice instead and then spoon onto plates to serve… but I love the presentation of the individual cast iron skillets. So cute and fun! I found my skillets at World Market but you can also find them on amazon or other online retailers.
SOUTHWESTERN CHEESY RICE SKILLET
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Serves: 3-4 skillets
For cheesy rice:
- 10 oz. package vigo saffron yellow rice, cooked
- 1 ear corn, corn sliced off the cobb
- 1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Dash salt, to taste
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 12 oz sirloin steak
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp dark cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For pico de gallo:
For fried tortilla strips:
- 4 yellow corn tortillas
- 1 cup canola oil
- Fine sea salt
- Cotija cheese
- Sunny side up egg
For cheesy rice:
- Cook rice according to package instructions and allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to a high broil.
- Place olive oil, onion, corn and cilantro in a large pan and sauté until corn and onions are tender.
- Add in the cooked rice, salt, chili powder, cumin and coriander. Sauté rice while stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes until warm and rice edges are slightly crisp.
- Fill individual cast iron skillets with the rice mixture. Split the rice into 3-4 equal portions for the skillets (depending on how many you’d like to make). Spoon over about 1/2 cup queso into each skillet (recipe linked above). You can use as much or as little queso as you’d like. (I prefer a lot of queso!)
- Place the skillets into the oven and cook under a broil until cheese is bubbling. About 5-8 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and dress with toppings.
- Remove the steak from the fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking in order to bring it to room temp.
- Mix together salt, chili powder, garlic powder and cocoa powder.
- Place a tiny amount of olive oil on the steak and then generously sprinkle all sides with the spice mixture.
- Heat a cast iron skillet to medium high heat. Add in olive oil and allow a minute to heat up. Place the steak into the hot skillet and cook for about 5-6 minutes a side (depending on how thick your steak is). In order to get a good crisp outer layer on the steak, do not flip the steak often. Allow it to sit still on the heat.
- For medium rare: 130-135 degrees F. Medium: 135-140 degrees F.
- Remove from the skillet once cooked to your liking and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Once rested, dice steak into small chunks.
For tortillas strips:
- Heat oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a tall sided skillet or pot. (I used a cast iron skillet)
- Add in tortilla strips (Do not overcrowd pan. Fry in batches.) Cook for about 1-2 minutes until crisp and golden.
- Drain on paper towels and repeat till all the tortillas are fried. Immediately season the tortillas with sea salt once out of the oil so that the salt sticks. (If you wait to long to season, the salt will bounce off.
- Top the cheesy rice with a fried egg, steak, pico de gallo (recipe linked above), tortilla strips, cotija, avocado chunks, chopped cilantro and hot sauce/salsa.