GREEN RICE

Too often, it seems, parsley is  used merely as a garnish to heighten the appearance of a dish, without giving much thought about what it has to offer in the flavor department. Give it a chance to contribute equally to the flavor of a dish. This recipe for green rice (or arroz poblano), comes from Michoacán, Mexico via Chicago, Illinois, and is adapted from “Cochina de la  Familia” by Marilyn Tausend. The original recipe calls specifically for poblano peppers, but I have made it with all kinds and it always tastes great.  This takes an entire bunch of parsley, so if you have any leftover from last week, or pick up more tomorrow, here’s a plan for it.

This goes well with grilled meats, especially at this time of year. I like to top it off with shredded cheese (muenster, Monterey jack, or cheddar are all good) and a fried egg and call it a meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 small green peppers, your choice of spicy or sweet, roasted* and chopped (the amount is very forgiving here: I got  1 smallish pepper in my share last week, and used just that, and it worked great. You could even substitute jarred roasted red peppers to save a little time and effort. Although you won’t get the same beautiful green color, it will still be tasty.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped (about as much as can be packed into 1 cup, but a little more or less is fine)
  • 1 bunch cilantro (ditto on the parsley measurement)
  • 2.5 cups chicken or vegetable stock/broth
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1.5 cups long grain white rice (you can use brown rice, if you prefer, just be sure to increase the cooking time appropriately)
  • salt to taste

Directions

Put the peppers, parsley, garlic, parsley, cilantro, and 0.5 cups chicken stock in a food processor; process until smooth.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until it is just starting to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the puréed ingredients, stirring until well-mixed. Add the remaining 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, stir, and salt to  taste. If your stock/broth is already salty you may not need any additional salt.

Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, and turn the heat to low. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice, about 15 minutes.

Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.


OVEN-ROASTED PEPPERS

The first time  I made oven-roasted peppers was a revelation to me. It only takes a few minutes and really sweetens and intensifies the pepper flavor. This  is how I do it:

Preheat your oven’s broiler. While it’s heating up, take a piece of aluminum foil big enough to wrap up the pepper(s), and set it flat on a baking sheet.

Cut the pepper(s) in half and remove the stem and seeds. Set the pepper(s), cut sides down, on the aluminum foil. Set the baking sheet under your oven’s broiler.

Broil until the skin starts blistering and it has turned black in spots. I recommend watching it the entire time, as it can go from just-starting-to-char to a pepper-shaped-piece-of-charcoal pretty quickly (I may be speaking from experience here). The time is really pepper-dependent: how tall they are, as well as how close you can get them to the broiler affect the time it takes to roast them. I put them on the absolute top rack, unless they are particularly tall–you don’t want them to touch the heating element or flame.

Once they’re done, remove the baking sheet from the oven and fold the the aluminum foil to completely wrap the peppers. This seals in the steam which helps loosen the charred skin. After about 5 minutes, open carefully, peel off the charred parts of skin, and you’re done. Don’t worry if it doesn’t all come off, just aim for most.