If you love cilantro like I do, you will love this very fragrant side dish. I first had this pilaf at a great little Mexican restaurant in Tucson, and ever since, have preferred this over Spanish rice. It has such a nice distinct fresh herbal flavor from the cilantro, parsley, green onions and jalapeno. I have also served this to some folks who did not like cilantro, and they loved it.
For best results, use long-grain rice and do not rinse it. This should be cooked just before you plan on serving it, but the cilantro puree can be prepared in advance.
Just the color alone makes for a fun side dish! Give this easy recipe a try with your next Mexican meal.
Wine Pairing: An American Riesling would be a nice match to the herbs, and for something different, try a Rose' Cotes-du-Rhone.
1 cup chicken or beef broth (for a vegetarian version, vegetable broth can be used)
1 cup water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 or 2 jalapeno chiles, chopped (depending on your taste)
2 green onions, including tender green tops, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
pinch of kosher salt
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the stock and the water and bring to a simmer. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains are separated and opaque, 2-3 minutes. Gradually stir in the simmering stock (it will boil up vigorously), then reduce the heat and cover. Cook undisturbed until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is tender, about 20 minutes.
While the rice cooks, in a food processor, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, green onions, garlic, remaining 1 tbsp oil and salt. Process until you have a smooth consistency.
Remove the rice from heat. Dollop the cilantro puree evenly over the surface of the rice and cover. Let stand undisturbed for 5 minutes. Uncover and thoroughly stir the puree into the rice. Transfer to a serving dish and serve right away.