Hearty Fall Cookery
If you are uninspired with the prospect of cooking up plain old rice why not spice it up a bit with a rendition of Arroz Verde, a versatile Central and South American recipe for cooking rice with herbs, leafy greens, and roasted green chiles. Easy to make and adds a bright burst of flavor to almost any meal that that would traditionally be served with rice.
Almost any seasonal leafy green is a candidate for this recipe, so feel free to invent your own variations that best compliment the meal you are planning to cook, and don’t limit yourself to south of the border menus. Arroz verde makes a wonderful stuffing for poultry, as a side dish with lamb using mint, or for a vegetarian meal.
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 2 medium fresh green chiles, fire roasted (posted in Basics), peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1 bunch of leafy greens (or spinach, chard, mustard greens, rocket) chopped
- 1 handful of cilantro (or parsley, celery leaves, basil) chopped
- 1 ½ cups stock (or water)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup long grain rice (unwashed)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (or cold pressed peanut or grape seed)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Place 1½ tablespoons of oil into a saute pan set over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, prepared roasted green chiles, spinach (or other), and cilantro (or other) and sauté for several minutes until the greens are wilted and the onions are soft and translucent. Add the stock (or water) and salt and continue to cook for 6 minutes.
Transfer the contents of the sauté pan, including the liquid, to a blender jar and blend, beginning at low speed to avoid spewing hot liquid out of the top, and then increase speed and blend for several minutes until the mixture is completely pureed. Set aside.
Place 1 ½ tablespoons oil into a large sauce pan set over medium heat and when hot add the rice and fry the rice, constantly stirring, until the rice is slightly translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the blended mixture to the pan and stir to combine with the rice. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately and set aside with the lid on for 15 minutes to finish cooking the rice.
Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a wooden spoon and serve.
Serving suggestion: with New Mexican Carne Adovada Enchiladas (recipe posted above) and beans (posted in Basics)