Tom did some grilling recently (from Rick Bayless’s cookbook – shocking, I know!) and for one of those meals, I made the arbol chile salsa as an accompaniment to some pork tenderloin. I ended up having extra tomatillos and wasn’t sure how to use them, but eventually settled on rice. Originally, I was going to do something similar to a Spanish rice with chunks of tomatillos, but decided to sear and puree them, much like the salsa calls for, and use that puree as part of the cooking liquid.
I adore poblanos in general, but I really love them with tomatillos. Tomatillos are sweet and sort of tart, and I like how the earthy and just a teeny bit spicy poblano balances those flavors. Add that and some of your standard pilaf ingredients like garlic, onions, and chicken broth, and you’ve got a Mexican twist on your boring brown rice side. This is really tasty and healthy, too!
I took a picture of the brown rice in the baking dish but it didn’t look very appetizing, so the one on the plate will have to do. :)
Baked Poblano and Tomatillo Brown Rice
1 poblano pepper
1/2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 lb. tomatillos, husked and cut in half
1 cup brown rice
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350.
Directly over a gas burner or under your broiler, char the poblano. Cook, rotating, until all sides are blackened/blistered. Put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Once cool enough to handle, peel the skin off and discard. Coarsely chop the poblano and throw into the food processor.
In a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron and something with higher sides) over medium heat, add the oil until shimmering, and then cook the onion until tender. Spoon the onions into the food processor, and then wipe out the skillet.
Set the skillet over medium-high heat and add the tomatillos, cut side down, and garlic. When the tomatillos are well-browned, about 3-4 minutes, flip everything and brown on the other side. Add to the food processor, along with 1/2 cup chicken broth, and pulse until everything is combined and as smooth as possible. Pour into a measuring cup, and add enough chicken broth to equal 2.25 total cups of liquid; season to taste with salt and pepper. (Place in processor and pulse again if necessary.)
Pour the liquid back into your pan and bring to a boil. Place rice in a 1.5 qt baking dish, and pour hot liquid over the top, or just add rice to skillet. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil and bake for one hour. Fluff with a fork before serving.
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