Creamy Rice CasseroleZarela Martinez came late to her calling. As a young mother and social worker in El Paso, Texas, this northern Mexican native began baking cookies and catering for extra cash. Her mother, who is a renowned cookbook author, encouraged her to pursue her passion, and arranged for her to travel to various U.S. cooking schools. It seems that culinary talent runs deep in the family. After several years of study, Zarela met Paul Prudhomme, who urged her to focus on her passion for regional Mexican dishes and develop her personal style. She spent a week in his kitchen, a brief period of time that changed her life.
Mexican born Zarela Martinez is one the leading U.S. restaurateurs. Her namesake restaurant was a Manhattan institution and a culinary trend-setter which closed in 2011. Martínez, 63, debuted Zarela on Sept. 28, 1987, introducing a city pretty much devoid of a decent taco to fresh-made tamales and tortillas, moles and a rainbow of unheard-of chiles - poblano, ancho, chipotle, guajillo, habanero.
She has since hosted a PBS 13 part cooking series cooking series, launched a line of Walmart housewares, authored three books and become a tireless ambassador of Mexico's culinary richness. In the past she has made guest appearances on many TV shows including "Julia Child: Cooking with Master Chefs" and " Martha Stewart".
This innovative chef has earned her place on "the list' of Gourmet Lives 50 Women Game Changers for her role. Our group began this journey of chronicling recipes from the Gourmet Live's list of 50 Women Game Changers back in June. The end is drawing near as we have reached #47 on the list!! Whether you agree or disagree with the authors chosen fifty on the list of 50 Women Game Changers and their order it has been an enjoyable and creative outlet to cook from the masters and those we admire with a group of dedicated ladies. There have even been a few successful bloggers on "the list". We have checked out books from the library, borrowed cookbooks from friends, surfed the Internet and browsed our own cookbook collections seeking that one recipe that will highlight that weeks outstanding woman. This group is spearheaded by my favourite well-travelled blogger Mary of One Perfect Bite who invited bloggers to travel along on this culinary journey throughout the year.
Lets see what we have brought to the table for our 47th Women Game Changer.......
Mary of One Perfect Bite - Pebro de Pollo
Val of More Than Burnt Toast - Creamy Rice Casserole
Susan of The Spice Garden - Chille Rellenos
Heather of Girlichef - Camarones al Ajillo (Garlicky Stir-Fried Shrimp)
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney - Shrimp with Chipotle Peppers
Jeanette at Jeanette's Healthy Living - Warm Artichoke and Hearts of Palm Dip
Kathleen Van Bruinisse at Bake Away with Me - Zarela's Avocado Ice
Linda of There and Back Again - Beans Fried in Butter
Barbara of Moveable Feasts - Pumpkin Cheesecake
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits - Ensalada de mariscos "Rapafa"
Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen - Drunk Chicken
Claudia of Journey of an Italian Cook - Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Salad
Alyce of More Time at The Table - Savoury Cornbread
Jill at Saucy Cooks - Pork with Red Mole Sauce-Colaradito
This rice casserole, studded with fresh corn kernels, peas and poblano chiles, and made creamy with sour cream and cheddar cheese, is Mexican comfort food. “People love it because it’s creamy, crunchy and cheesy,” said Zarela. “It’s Mexican baby food. Like rice and beans.”
**Creamy Rice Casserole**
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Uncle Ben's or other converted rice
- 1 Poblano chile
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/8 cup plus 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- 1/8 cup peas, fresh or frozen
- 4 ounces grated Cheddar cheese
2. Place poblano on a broiling pan about 2 inches from the broiler. Using a pair of tongs, turn poblano every 3 to 5 minutes, until blistered all over, about 15 minutes. (Alternatively, the poblano may be roasted directly over a gas flame, turning every minute until blistered all over, 3 to 5 minutes.) Transfer to a paper bag and allow to cool. Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
3. When the poblano is cool enough to handle, gently scrape away blistered outer skin and discard the top. Slice open lengthwise and gently scrape away and discard seeds. Slice lengthwise in quarter-inch strips, and cut cross-wise into quarter-inch dice. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, 1/8 cup chopped onion, and chopped cilantro. Season with salt to taste.
4. In a skillet over medium heat, heat vegetable oil until shimmering. Add 1/4 cup chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add diced poblano and sauté 1 minute, then remove from heat and transfer to a casserole or clay pot. Add the rice, corn, and peas. Toss lightly. Add sour cream mixture and grated cheese. Mix lightly but thoroughly. Cover the casserole or clay pot with a lid or foil; if using a Pyrex casserole, reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until thoroughly heated, about 30 minutes. Serve with a green salad, if desired.
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