Rodrigo-Style Fish and Arroz Verde

It’s two recipes in one entry today!  A few weeks ago I accidentally got a new cookbook:  2013_1002September20130030  Accidentally? Yes.  Are you a member of any of those book clubs that send you the “featured selection” every so often, unless you turn it down?  You know, ones like Book of the Month Club, Crossings, Doubleday, and The Good Cook?  I am a member of several, and I rarely miss either turning down or confirming a featured selection, but somehow I did this time.  And maybe I should have taken the package back to the post office unopened and returned it.  But I feel responsible, you know?  I agreed to let the club know if I didn’t want their book, and I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain.  So I opened it.  And I saw that it said “Mexican”.  And I thought, I’ll have to try this out!  So of course I kept it and paid for it 🙂

Now, I can’t let a cookbook sit around too long without preparing at least one recipe from it, so I looked through it and chose two to put together to make a meal.  I try to fix fish/seafood for my husband at least once a week, and when I choose those recipes I pick something I think I would like, if I liked fish.  So I chose this one:  I also chose the side dish from this book, and after a quick web search, I didn’t locate Pati’s recipe for Arroz Verde (or “My Favorite Green Rice” as she titles it in her cookbook) so I’ll type it up here:


Arroz Verde

2 cups long- or extra long-grain white rice or jasmine rice

2 poblano chiles, seeded and cut into chunks

1/2 cup water, plus 2 tablespoons more if needed

2/3 cup cilantro leaves

2 garlic cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

2 1/2 – 3 cups canned chicken or vegetable broth

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/3 cup coarsely chopped white onion

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste

1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco, Cotija, farmer cheese, or mild feta (optional)

1. Soak the rice in a bowl of hot water to cover for about 5 minutes.  Drain in a sieve and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear.  Drain well.

2. In a blender or food processor, puree the chilies with the 1/2 cup water, cilantro, garlic, and salt until smooth.  Pass the puree through a fine sieve into a large liquid measuring cup; note the amount and set aside.  Pour enough of the chicken broth into another liquid measuring cup to make 4 cups liquid total – you want to keep the two liquids separate, since you will add the puree first.

3. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking,  Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the color changes to a milky white, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the onion and saute until slightly softened, 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Pour in the poblano puree and cook until it darkens, thickens, and has mostly been absorbed by the rice, 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in the chicken broth and lime juice, bring to a rolling boil, cover, and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting.  Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed but there is still some moisture in the pan, about 15 minutes.  The rice should be cooked and tender; if it is not but all the liquid has been absorbed, add 2 tablespoons water, cover again, and cook for a couple more minutes.  Let the rice rest, covered, for at least 5 minutes.

5. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve with the crumbled cheese on top, if using.

Here’s a look at some of the ingredients I pulled together for the fish:

2013_1002September20130032  I already had soy sauce, so I didn’t even seek the Maggi sauce.  I did use tilapia fillets instead of a substitute.  I found the fish recipe to be rather quick and easy to prepare.  Now about that rice . . .

First, I omitted the cilantro (probably considered an essential ingredient for those who often prepare arroz verde, but I just don’t like the stuff).  Here are some of the ingredients I used in the rice:  2013_1002September20130037  I decided I’d only need to prepare half of the rice, since I was only feeding one person with this meal (though I might sample the rice).  I ran into trouble at the point where I was cooking the rice in oil for a few minutes.  It was at this point that my husband yelled to me to let me know our daughter was calling for me.  Normally when I’m cooking, I tell the kids to wait until I find a stopping point.  But for some reason I felt like my husband was demanding that I see to it “right now”, and I did.  Needless to say, by the time I returned to the kitchen the rice had burned.  Okay, start over.  Only I don’t feel like starting over with the “soaking the rice” step.  And I’ve never done that with rice anyway, so how about I just prepare it as usual, using the puree and broth for the cooking liquid instead of water?  That’s pretty much how it goes anyway, after the soak and saute steps.  So that’s what I did.  Hmmmm…what about the onion?  I pulled out a small skillet and sauteed the onion in oil, then stirred the onion and lime juice into the cooked rice.  Good enough.  Maybe.

Here is what I ended up serving my husband: 2013_1002September20130043  I did serve the corn tortillas on the side, and (oops!) I forgot to add the cheese to the rice.  But it was optional anyway, so we’re good.  And we were: My husband gave me a kiss and told me this was the best fish meal I have ever made for him! 

Turned out to be a good thing I accidentally bought another cookbook, didn’t it? 😉


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