Move Over Ordinary Rice Casseroles, Here Comes Arroz Con Chile Verde

By Jan D’Atri, Arizona Agriculture Advocate

Jan D' Atri's Arroz con Chili Verde

Move over ordinary rice casseroles. I may have brought you a new favorite. I presented this dish to family members this week and already it’s being requested at Christmas Dinner. That’s something! It’s a fabulous recipe that blends sour cream into warm cooked rice for a rich-tasting and creamy consistency. The rice goes on the top and bottom of the casserole with layers of green chiles and cheese in between.

It’s one of the many memorable dishes I’ve picked out of a great heritage cookbook called “Cooking Memories; A Collection of Recipes from the Arizona State Cowbelles.” Let me tell you, these ladies know how to cook! The Cowbelles are a group of Arizona women who have been supporting the cattle industry in this state since 1947. Many of the contributors to the cookbook are pioneers of the Arizona ranching industry and they’ve certainly compiled a “meaty” book of recipes that are quick and uncomplicated to prepare.

So Where’s The Beef in this recipe? I haven’t made it to the beef chapter yet. I’m finding too many great dishes in the Vegetables section. (Ok, I’ve chowed my way through a number of cookies and cakes in the dessert section, too.)
Myra Carlock, Northern Arizona Cowbelle and Maricopa Cattlewomen, contributed this delicious recipe for Arroz Con Chile Verde. I took the creative license to substitute fresh roasted and peeled poblano chiles for the canned chiles, Queso Oaxaca (Mexican string cheese) for the Monterrey Jack and a wonderful rich and slightly sweet cream similar to sour cream called Crema Salvadorena. All three items are readily available in our Southwestern grocery stores like Phoenix Ranch Market or Food City. Also, I always cook my rice in chicken broth as it adds a great deal of flavor to the starch. I now double this recipe and keep one for later since it freezes so well.

Thanks so much to Myra and the Arizona Cowbelles. I’ve got no beef with this one!

Arroz Con Chile Verde

1 cup rice, brown or white
3 cups chicken broth or water
2 (7oz) cans green chiles
1 pint sour cream
3/4 pound Monterrey Jack Cheese
(*See Jan’s Substitutions)

Cook rice in 2 cups chicken broth or water. Reserve one cup broth for later.
When rice is cooked, stir sour cream into the rice until well blended. If rice is too dry, add up to one cup of chicken broth.
In an 8 X 12 inch buttered casserole dish, spread one half of the rice mixture. Add a layer of green chiles, seeded and cut in strips. Layer ½ pound of cheese in (in strips, shredded or cut into small pieces.) Add another layer of green chiles. Spread the remainder of the rice mixture over the layers and top with remainder of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.

For information on where to find the cookbook, Doris French of the Arizona State Cowbelles can set you up with a copy.

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