When I was living in Baltimore with my roommate Lindsey, we really enjoyed cooking together. And food in general, really. And drinking together. And there were some Buffy and Battle Star Galactica obsessions, but that is a giant rabbit hole we are not going down today.
Sticking to the food topics…Lindsey, introduced me to poblano rice. I loved it. Like I could eat it for breakfast LOVED it. I have been making it ever since. However, finding poblanos here is difficult. I think I have seen them twice in 6 months. Cilantro is also not widely available. (I freakin’ love cilantro too. so sad.) I have found it downtown at the big market and at a delightful Asian market we recently discovered near the Rathaus U-bahn stop, but it certainly is not in the markets we shop in daily. So sad…did I mention that? I really miss cilantro. That arroz verde was deliciously green from the flavorful, slightly spicy poblanos and tangy cilantro.
Fast forward to the other night when I made some turkey and veggie fajitas. I was really craving the poblano rice to round out the meal. However, unable to find (slash not willing to go all over the city for the necessary ingredients). I thought, Hey! Just because I don’t have poblanos and cilantro doesn’t mean I can’t make green rice. I can find other things to make rice green and delicious, right? So I did. I made up my own version.
It turned out great! PS said he liked it better than the poblano rice. While I might not go that far, it was pretty damn good. That being said, if I had cilantro that would be the first thing I would add. In place of the poblanos and cilantro I used some small green chilis, zucchini, parsley, and spinach to get my arroz verde. I spiced it with cumin, of course. Do people cook things without cumin? I also added oregano and cayenne. The chili peppers I used were not very hot and the cayenne pepper I have is not very spicy so I added at least ½ tsp.
I have found that when I cook rice dishes like this I like to cook rice until just al dente then remove from heat and leave to sit covered for about 10 minutes to finish cooking.
Yield 5-6 cups rice
½ medium zucchini chopped
2 small green chilis chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup loosely packed fresh spinach leaves
½-1 cup fresh parsley
3/4 tsp salt
½ tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne (optional)
4 cloves garlic
1 medium onions finely diced
1.5 cups white rice
Bring vegetable broth with chopped chilis and zucchini to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes until the chilis have softened. Remove from heat and transfer to container for hand blending or blender.
While the broth and vegetables are cooling, heat olive oil in the sauce pan and add onions, garlic, rice, ¼ tsp salt, and ½ tsp oregano. Saute, stirring frequently to prevent burning, mixture until most of the rice grains are opaque and the onions are translucent. This will take 5-8 minutes. While this is cooking you can also make the puree.
For the puree add spinach, parsley, cumin, and ½ tsp salt to the cooled broth with chilis and zucchini and puree until smooth and well combined.
When rice and onions are done, remove pan from heat and stir in the puree. Cover pan with a tight fitting lid and return to heat. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed and rice is cooked through. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.