Purée tomatoes along with their juices in a blender or food processor then set aside.
You can also pulse the ingredients, leaving them a little chunky if you prefer more texture in your rice.
Place rice in a strainer or colander then rinse well with cool water until the water runs clear. Set the strainer aside to drain completely.
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer. Add onion, salt and jalapeño. Sauté ingredients for 3 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute to infuse flavor.
Add rice then stir until the rice is completely coated with oil. When the grains of rice begin to swell and are opaque, add hot water, tomato purée and bay leaf and stir.
Bring everything to a boil over medium-high heat then immediately reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and allow the ingredients to simmer for about 25 minutes. Resist the temptation to peek in the pot while the rice is simmering!
At the 25-minute mark, uncover the pot, turn off the heat and allow the rice to rest for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice using a fork and remove the bay leaf (bay leaves make for great seasonings but they’re not meant to be ingested whole). Transfer the rice to a serving dish and enjoy!
One Last Thing
Add a small can of green chilies to this dish to take the heat up a bit!