Monday, February 27, 2012

Beautiful Rice

There are few things we love more in this house than a huge spread of delicious Latin food. Homemade enchiladas, Cuban black beans, tacos, and a variety of recipes we discovered on our travels to Brazil are all favorites in our menu rotation.  So, when I came across this recipe for Beautiful Rice (also known as arroz verde) on Jocelyn Taylor's Raising Foodies blog, I immediately pinned it and knew we had to give it a try.

The recipe was included in a post on the details of a gorgeous homemade Mexican meal: grilled flank steak with salsa verde, pork tamales, beans, and this beautiful rice.  The punch of the cilantro in the recipe makes the rice a natural accompaniment to any Latin meal, but is not so overwhelming that it screams "Mexican".  In fact, the dish is so versatile that it is hard to think of something it wouldn't compliment.  This would be a perfect elegant side for a simple piece of grilled meat or fish, or an ideal way to dress up a vegetarian dinner and make it feel special.

I love the subtle, complex flavor of this rice, the hidden nutrients from the spinach, and the stunning green color on the plate.  There is a tad more mixing and chopping in the recipe than I'd want for a weeknight side, but I made it for Sunday dinner this week and for that it was perfect.  We had friends over and served it alongside Brazilian Muqueca, spicy grilled pork and black beans, and it was phenomenal. However, where it really stole the show was in my lunch today.  I heated up leftover rice and beans and topped them with a fried egg, a bit of grated cheese, and plenty of hot sauce.  
Like so many herbaceous dishes, this one was even better the next day... I'm so thrilled we have leftovers!  Knowing how well the dish keeps now, I'm certain large batches of it are going to make frequent Sunday night appearances, as there is nothing better than a leftover lunch that sings.  Put this dish on your short list of things to try... it is a deliciously unexpected way to give your side some glamour and punch!

Beautiful Rice (or Arroz Verde)
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro
1 cup packed fresh spinach
1 1/4 cups homemade or organic chicken or veggie broth 
1 1/4 cups organic skim milk
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups organic long grain rice
1/4 minced onion
1 clove minced garlic

1) Put the cilantro, spinach, and broth in a blender and puree, add milk and salt and blend until combined.
2) Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy medium-sized pan, when butter is melted, add the rice and saute 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the onion and garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
3) Add the blender mix, stir well, bring to a boil. Turn to very low heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
4) Stir carefully and cook for another 5 minutes.
5) Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes until ready to serve.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this beautiful rice recipe. It sounds like a great side dish.