Spicy Spanish Cilantro Rice

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there!!!  I hope you're having a special day, and that YOU are not the one cooking today.  :)

Last night I found and modified a great Emeril Lagasse recipe, entitled "Poblano Pepper-Cilantro Rice".  I did have to make a few substitutions, so it became a slightly different "being" than intended - but the audience of Nick, my Dad and Sydney didn't mind.  They all loved it, and Nick isn't even a fan of Cilantro.  Also, this recipe is prepared much like a risotto, where the liquid continues to absorb, and I found I had to add broth throughout to get the best texture from the rice.

The main reason I wanted to try this, and sought the recipe out, was that I have a great crop of fresh cilantro growing in one of my garden beds out back and I wanted to use some.  I absolutely love the combination of flavors here, and having used Rotel (Spicy Tomato and Green Chilis) instead of the Poblano's also added a "spanish rice" flair to this as well, and makes for a slightly orange color, which is also very pretty.

We paired this with BBQ chicken (using the Championship BBQ Rub), and it was delicious.

Spicy Spanish Cilantro Rice

Here's what I used:

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 15 oz can Rotel
1 med onion, chopped
1 tbsps chopped garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (I left stems on)
4-5 cups chicken stock
2 cups long grain white rice

Here's what I did:

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Then add Rotel (with juice), garlic, cumin, salt, and cilantro and cook for another minute.  Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and process on high until smooth.

In same saucepan, heat remaining oil over medium heat, and add rice, stirring until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.  Add puree and cook, stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.  Add 3 cups of stock, stir and cover, lowering heat to medium-low.  **Check mixture every 4-5 minutes, if the rice needs more liquid and rice is still crunchy/al dente, add liquid as needed.  Do this until 15-20 minutes have passed and rice is at the right soft consistency.  Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and serve, using extra cilantro sprigs as garnish.


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