Easily Turn a Side Into a Main

Lovely and colorful, this Southwestern Rice Pilaf side dish is a welcome change to regular rice and/or potatoes. While we didn’t consider this very spicy, it did have a kick to it. If you prefer low-spicy foods, leave out the diced jalapeño at the end.

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We served ours with a Pork Chops with Green Chiles and Onions entrée but this dish would also make a delicious accompaniment to steak or chicken fajitas. Or, to simplify things, simply shred a rotisserie chicken or some cooked sausage, fold into the rice, and Voila, a ready-made meal!

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Always a good idea to prep all ingredients prior to cooking.
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, medium diced (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium poblano, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced (1/2 cup)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbs.)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken broth, preferably hoemmade
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained well
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced

Directions

  1. In a heavy-based 3-qt. saucepan with a tight lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, poblano, and garlic, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
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  2. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened and the spices are very fragrant, about 3 minutes.
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  3. Add the rice and salt, and stir well to coat each grain with oil. Toast for a full 5 minutes, stirring regularly to keep the grains separated and to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan (the rice may turn opaque before 5 minutes is up, but keep going). Reduce the heat to low if there are any signs of scorching.
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  4. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes, stir once, and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 minutes.
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  5. Remove from the heat and let the pilaf sit, still covered, for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, finely grate 1 Tbs. zest from the lime, and then cut the lime into wedges.
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  6. Once the pilaf has rested, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Using the fork, gently fold in the cilantro, jalapeño, and lime zest. Season to taste with salt. Serve with the lime wedges for spritzing over the rice.
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Recipe by Ris Lacoste from Fine Cooking

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