I’m sorry, no picture of this. The weather had been very overcast,making it harder to take decent pictures. So, just use your imagination: picture a casserole dish filled with creamy green herb flecked rice, green peas and corn, punctuated with rivulets of melted cheddar cheese.
The recipe comes from restauranteur and cookbook author Zarela Martinez via Elaine Louie’s The Occasional Vegetarian. According to Ms. Martinez, this is child friendly comfort food.
Creamy Mexican Rice
Adapted from Zarela Martinez’s recipe as it appears in Elaine Louie’s The Occasional Vegetarian. I didn’t precisely follow the recipe as it was originally written, but the results were delicious. Ms. Martinez explains that this is a Chihuahua dish with many variation: the poblano pepper and the cheese are musts, but the corn and sour cream are optional.
First make the rice:
1 cup rice (the original recipe calls for Uncle Ben’s parboiled rice, but I used what I had in the house, regular white rice, and it was fine)
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. butter (I left this out)
The original recipe calls for cooking the rice on low for 25–30 minutes and then spreading out the rice on a baking sheet to cool. I didn’t do this. I just made the rice the way that I normally do, and let it cool in the pot.
While the rice is cooking, roast the poblano pepper over the stove or under the broiler until the skin is blackened (actually, I just stuck it in the toaster oven and roasted it at the highest temperature for about 15 minutes):
1 poblano pepper, with a slit cut into the side to prevent it from exploding as it roasts
Cover the roasted poblano and let it cool (the recipe says to put it in a paper bag, but I just wrapped it up in the foil that it roasted on top of. When the pepper is cool, skin, seed and chop it into a 1/4″ dice.
Saute the onion and garlic in oil until translucent and then add the poblano and saute for another minute:
1/4 cup chopped onion (I went with a large shallot)
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbl. oil
Transfer the onion/poblano mixture to an ovenproof casserole dish. Add the cooled rice, corn and peas and mix everything together gently:
1 cup corn niblets (one ear of corn is enough if you want to use fresh corn)
1/2 cup frozen peas (original recipe said 1/8 cup, but that seemed way too little, I might even have used a full cup of frozen peas)
In a small bowl, combine together the sour cream, cilantro and minced onion:
1/4 cup minced onion (I used shallot)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used reduced fat and it worked perfectly)
2 Tbl. chopped cilantro (I used 3 cubes of the frozen)
salt, to taste
Gently stir the sour cream mixture into the rice along with shredded cheese:
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (I used reduced fat and it worked perfectly)
Cover the casserole and bake at 350 degrees (325 degrees for a Pyrex dish) until heated through, about a half hour or so.