Creamy Rice with Poblanos

This recipe comes from a wonderful book called Food From my Heart: Cuisines of Mexico Remembered and Reimagined (Macmillan, 1992) by Zarela Martinez, a Mexican chef from the Sonora region who ran a successful restaurant in New York.  The recipe is featured right now on her website (http://www.zarela.com).  My Mexican friend in attendance this year said his family ate rice like this growing up.

4 c. water
1 T. butter
2 t. salt, or to taste
2 c. converted rice (yes, really)
2 T. vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 c.)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 c. fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels
1 1/2 c. Crema Agria Preparada (note below*)
2 c. shredded white cheddar cheese

Bring the water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan, add butter and salt.  When butter is melted, add rice and bring back to a boil.  Reduce the heat to very low, cover the pan tightly, and cook for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool in the pan uncovered.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for a Pyrex dish).  Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and add onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add poblanos and cook, stirring, for another minute.  Let cool then combine with the rice.  Mix in the corn, sour cream mixture, and shredded cheese.  Pack into a casserole dish, 9 X 9 or 7 X 11, and bake for 30 minutes.  Serves 6.

*Crema Agria Preparada: mix 1 1/2 c. sour cream with 1 small onion, very finely diced, 1 garlic clove, minced, and 2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, adding salt to taste.  Let rest 5 minutes to blend flavors before using.


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