You may not think it, or know it, but when it comes to Mexican Cooking – rice is serious business. At least when it comes to the what and the where of my upbringing. You wanna’ experience some real-world magic? Eat some perfectly cooked (Mexican) rice!
As any budding home cook can attest – rice ain’t easy. It’s something I’ve touched on before. Under-cooked, overcooked, under-seasoned – over-seasoned; these outcomes are the scourge of the home cook. Or hell, even the professional chef. (I’ve seen enough cooking competition shows where something as ‘simple’ as rice is an unwitting contestant’s downfall.) Blarg!
So. Today. Why not make some rice? Face it head on!
Today’s Recipe is Arroz Verde (Green Rice) or Roasted Poblano Rice. It’s one of my faves! Various versions of this dish use other green ingredients (such as spinach) but I prefer the the smoky undertones of the roasted poblano paired with cilantro; it creates a delicious contrast to the flavor of tender rice. I’m getting hungry just writing about it.
Before we get to cooking, let’s talk about a few key points. (Because I’m neurotic like that)
1. Rinse and soak your rice before hand. (About 15 minutes)
2. Sauteing your rice until it turns golden. (About 8 – 10 minutes)
3. DO NOT STIR while it cooks.
NOTE: No method for making rice is full-proof (and this can be said for any recipe, really) because of heating variables. No two gas (or electric) stoves will produce the same results because so much hinges on just how much heat. The important thing to remember is to watch the liquid level of the rice. Keep your rice covered as much as possible but don’t be afraid to lift the lid to have a peek. Or use a glass lid – that’s what I do. Just take a spoon and pull from the side to see where you stand liquid-wise and you’ll be fine. Just don’t stir.
Arroz Verde; Roasted Poblano Rice
1 Cup Medium (or long grain) White Rice
1/2 Cup Defrosted Green Peas
2 TBS Canola Oil
1 Large or 2 medium sized Poblano Peppers (Roasted & Seeded)
1 3/4 Cup Flavorful Vegetable Broth
1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
FIRST: Roast Your Poblanos1. Roast your poblanos over direct heat using tongs or on a (dry) heavy bottom pan until completely blackened and charred.
1.5 – Basically, if it looks burnt you’re good to go!
2. Wrap roasted poblanos in a paper towel and place inside a plastic bag. Allow to steam / cool for about 10 minutes. (This will further ‘cook’ your poblano)
3. Pull poblanos from the plastic bag and rub off all of the charred bits with the paper towel.
3.5 – If you’re sensitive to chiles – use gloves or the bag to handle them.
4. Remove stems, seeds and core.
5. Roughly Chop. Add to your blender.
SECOND: Make Your Broth Mixture
1. Add your poblanos, Cilantro, broth, garlic and onion powder into a blender.
2. Blend thoroughly.
3. Pass (blended) broth through a fine metal sieve, cheese cloth or fine meta strainer. You should end up with about 2 cups of broth – You’ll need 2 cups.
THIRD: Make Your Rice
1. Rinse your rice in a bowl; cover in warm water and let rest for 15 minutes.
2. Drain Rice thoroughly through a fine mesh strainer.
3. Heat oil in a Medium (rimmed) saute or wide sauce pan for 1 minute over Med-High heat.
4. Saute Rice in oil for 8 – 10 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until golden brown.
5. Add broth mixture.
6. Stir to incorporate.
7. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. DO NOT STIR.
8. Add defrosted peas to rice and re-cover pan.
9. Cook until liquid has evaporated. (5 to 10 minutes)
10. When all of the liquid has evaporated – turn off heat – keep covered (DO NOT STIR) for 10 mintues.
11. Fluff rice with fork gently and incorporate peas.
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