Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Spanish Rice

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 c. uncooked white rice
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 c. chicken broth
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
2 tsp. chili powder, or to taste
1 tsp. salt

Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Saute rice and bell pepper until rice is browned. Stir in broth and tomatoes. Season with chili powder and salt. Cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed.

Potato Basil Puree

(a fun side dish on St. Patrick's Day)

2 c. fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
2 lbs. large Yukon Gold or white boiling potatoes
1 c. half and half
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and fill a bowl with ice water. Add the basil leaves to the boiling water and cook for exactly 15 seconds. Remove the basil with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge the leaves into the ice water to set the bright green color. Drain and set aside

Peel the potatoes and cut them in quarters. Add the potatoes to the same pot of boiling water and return to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 20-25 minutes, until very tender. Drain well, return to the saucepan, and steam over low heat until any remaining water evaporates. (I simply peel the potatoes, put them in a crock pot, cover them with water, cook on low for 6 hours, and drain.)

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half and Parmesan cheese until the cream simmers. Place the basil in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree. Add the hot cream mixture and process until smooth.

Beat the hot potatoes with a mixer until they are broken up. Slowly add the hot basil cream, salt and pepper, and beat until smooth. If the potatoes need to be reheated, cover and cook gently over low heat for a few minutes. Pour into a serving bowl, sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese, season to taste and serve hot. Serves 4-5.