Mid-March is always exciting around here because the lengthening of daytime is becoming definitely perceptible; I must delate my hatred for daylight saving time, but the air feels renewed, and there are even a few splashes of new growth around, so I pledge my optimism for spring to come soon. St. Patrick’s Day is also fast approaching, so it is definitely time for the mood to switch from blue to green! Last year, I experimented with naturally dyed green beer and an Irish/Mexican fusion dish of “Colcannon Quesadillas”; I think a nice side of Mexican green rice would be a great addition to the menu this year.
Green Rice – Arroz verde
1 poblano pepper (about 1/2 cup); roasted, peeled, stems and seeds removed, and cut into strips (check this page, for detailed instructions)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup water
1 cup long grain rice
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 cups water, or broth; kept hot
1 tsp salt
1 clove garlic; peeled
Place poblano strips in a blender jar with the cilantro, onion and ¼ cup water (photo below, left); process until very smooth, and set aside. Rinse rice in a bowl with warm water, drain, and repeat at least twice, until the water looks clear. Drain one more time through a strainer, and let dry completely; set aside. Pour oil in a wide pot over medium heat; it must be nice and hot to fry the rice, so test by adding a few grains and looking for a strong sizzle (photo below, right):
Add rice, stirring constantly to avoid excessive browning; it should look like it is getting fried, not steamed. When almost ready, add garlic, and continue cooking and monitoring carefully, until rice and garlic are crispy and light golden brown, about one more minute (photo below, left); do not leave unattended, it browns quickly and may burn. Immediately add the poblano blend (photo below, right):
Stir until completely coated, and reduce heat to a simmer; continue cooking and stirring for about two more minutes. Meanwhile, dissolve salt in hot water (or broth), then add to the rice (photo below, left); increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover, reducing heat back to a gentle simmer (photo below, right):
Let cook undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Uncover and check if the surface has dried; check the bottom of the pot very carefully with a fork, it should not have any liquid left (photo below, left). Taste one grain; it should be completely cooked. Turn off the heat and let the pot rest on the burner, uncovered, for 5 to 10 minutes; fluff very lightly with a fork, folding from the edges towards the centre of the pot. The rice should be fluffy, tender and each grain separating easily (photo below, right):
Discard garlic before transferring rice to a serving plate:
This rice is also a great side for fish, such as my Fish Filets in Garlic Sauce. For the photo at the top of the post, I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to mould the four leaves of the good-luck clover, and a piece of green onion for a stem.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Come soon, spring!
I am joining Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop #319 with co-hosts Colleen @ Bakes and Blunders, Beverly @ Eclectic Red Barn, Sinea @ Ducks in a Row, Tammy @ My Life Abundant, Jennifer @ Engineer Mommy, Cindy @ Simple Steps for Living Life, Penny @ Penny’s Passion, Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap, Brittany @ The Snyder Family, and Emily @ Le Cultivateur
FUN FACT: While looking for inspiration for today’s “Fandango’s One-Word Challenge” – WiFi and Sheryl’s “Your Daily Word prompt” – Knight, I found an interesting reference connecting both prompts, about the “Knight of St. Patrick Award“, granted by the College of Engineering at “Illinois Computer Science” University (it counts, right?) Also interesting: In Ireland, there were real knights who belonged to the “Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick” founded in 1783, a year after Ireland received substantial autonomy; the Order has remained dormant since 1922, and the last surviving member (HRH The 1st Duke of Gloucester) died in 1974.