I do not really like Spanish rice, but I do love Mexican food, so I’m always looking for alternative side dishes to complement my Mexican meals (let me know if you have some!). I started making this green rice about four years ago and every one that has tried it raves about it and immediately tries to figure out what’s in it b/c they’re always expecting broccoli when they look at it and are surprised by the slightly spicy, garlicky & cilantro taste. It is a very nice complement to any Mexican dinner, but I really like to serve it with my creamy chicken enchiladas along with a salad. It does take a while to make, so I usually save it for special occasions or days when I have an extra hour to prepare dinner.
Green Rice pictured with Fish Tacos
3 cups fat-free chicken broth or water
2 poblano peppers, stems & seeds removed
1 jalapeno pepper, stem & seeds removed (use latex gloves so your skin doesn’t get burned during handling)
1 bunch (at least 1 cup) chopped fresh cilantro leaves, divided in half
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, finely diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup brown rice
½ tsp. salt
Combine the broth and peppers in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, and then partially cover and simmer gently over medium to medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into a food processor or blender*, add 1/2 of the cilantro and process to a smooth puree. Set aside.
Wipe the pan clean, add the oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the warm broth mixture & the salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Start checking on it about 30 minutes to make sure there is still enough liquid. There should be enough, but add more broth as needed. Also, the rice will start sticking to the bottom toward the end of cooking so when most of the liquid is absorbed, you’ll have to stir it every few minutes to keep the bottom from scorching. This makes the rice creamy–almost like a risotto in texture. Once the rice is tender, remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes, covered. Stir in remaining cilantro and serve.
*Remove the center part of your blender lid before turning it on so that the steam has somewhere to escape once the internal pressure increases. If you don’t do this, your blender lid will blow off & you could be badly burned (as I have on two separate occasions). It works best to start the blender on low and slowly increase the speed, that way nothing sloshes out through the open hole at the top.