arroz verde (green rice)

This is a fun side dish for Mexican and South American food. It would also go well with any other food that has big, bold flavors – it would be a good thing to take to a summer potluck. I used Anaheim chiles, since that’s what I had on hand. Poblanoswould also be excellent, or you could use a mixture.

This is based on the pilaf method of rice cooking, where the raw grains are sauteed in fat for a few minutes before adding liquid. This is common in Middle Eastern, Indian, and South American cooking, and it ensures tender grains of rice that aren’t clumpy or overly soft. It’s important to use medium-grain rice and not short grain rice (Arborio rice, like you would use for risotto, would be a bad bet). If you can’t find medium-grain, long grain rice will work fine too.

No picture today, since my only arroz verde photo is part of tomorrow’s recipe (chicken tacos with chorizo and poblanos).


Arroz Verde

adapted, barely, from Rick Bayless
serves 4 as a side dish


2 cups light chicken broth or water
2 fresh Anaheim or poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and roughly cut or torn into a few pieces
1 fresh jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and cut in half (optional)
1 large bunch scallions, green parts cut into 3″ chunks and white parts minced
several springs cilantro (optional)
kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup medium-grain rice, rinsed well


Bring the broth or water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the chiles, scallion greens (not the white parts) and cilantro, if using. Cook over medium heat until the peppers are very soft, about 10 minutes. Puree with a blender or immersion blender and strain the mixture. Measure the amount of liquid you have – you should have 1 2/3 cups. If you need more, add water or stock to bring the level up.

Give your saucepan a quick rinse and wipe it out with a paper towel. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the rice and minced scallion whites. If you used broth that was fairly salty, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt at this point. If your broth was not salted at all, add 1 teaspoon (these measurements are for kosher salt. If you are using table salt, use less). Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is chalky-looking and the scallions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the liquid, give it a good stir, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes is up, take the pan off the heat (don’t open it up!) and let it stand for another 5-10 minutes to finish cooking through. Serve immediately!


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