Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

By Stacie Morgan, April 14, 2016, Recipes

Welcome to Cooking with Less Kilowatts! There is nothing better than sitting down in the evening to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. But did you know that changing what you do in the kitchen can make an impact on your monthly electricity bill? Each week, I will help you find ways to cook using less energy while still getting a satisfying, flavorful meal. Trust me – I won’t just tell you to do everything in the microwave. I’ll help you cut down on your energy consumption.

If you are looking for a delicious rice recipe that mimics some of the deep, developed flavors in risotto without committing the time and energy, you must try this week’s loaded Poblano pepper Arborio rice! With this dish, you won’t have to spend an hour constantly stirring a pot of risotto while simultaneously watching a simmering pot of hot chicken stock.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

This delicious bowl of rice could certainly be a meal in itself, but feel free to whip up a protein of your choice as a complement!

My Arborio rice is lighter than a risotto, but it still packs flavors and textures that will be just as comforting and satisfying. Risotto traditionally requires heating stock or broth in one pan, toasting the rice and sautéed onions or other vegetables in oil or butter with some wine in another pan, and then constantly stirring the rice and adding small amounts of liquid slowly over time to develop a creamy rice dish.

This recipe still use the usual chicken stock (or broth), butter, and Arborio rice, but I let the rice cooker do the hard work for me. Not only does the rice cooker help you save energy, the rice will also be fluffy and won’t retain a creamy liquid when it’s finished. And this works perfectly when I introduce the other sautéed ingredients.

The Poblano pepper is the star of this flavorful recipe. It adds peppery flavor without a lot of heat and combines with the sweet corn, savory bacon, and fresh citrus and herbs to create a complete, coherent dish! If you want to punch up the heat in this dish, add some extra finely diced jalapeno or serrano peppers when you start sautéing  the vegetables.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

What a colorful spoonful of food!

The rice really lets the Poblano pepper, sweet corn, and bacon shine, and the little hint of coriander pairs well with the citrus and fresh cilantro. This dish tastes best made with fresh corn cut off the cob, though you can use defrosted fresh frozen corn from a bag in the freezer section. But please skip any canned ingredients with this recipe – fresher is better!

Poblano, Sweet Corn, and Red Pepper Arborio Rice

Rice Ingredients:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

If you like rice, we encourage the purchase of a rice cooker. It doesn’t use much energy, and it cooks evenly with ease.

  • 2 scoops Arborio rice for rice cooker (1.5 c. dry rice)
  • 14 oz. Chicken broth can (1.75 c. broth)
  • ¼ c. Water
  • 2 tbsp. Sweet cream, salted butter

Directions:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

Make sure the rice gets in the cooker. No one wants to pick up all those grains of spilled rice.

1) Add the rice to the rice cooker along with the butter, water, and chicken broth.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

Rice cookers are pretty low maintenance, as long as you pay attention to the cooking directions for your style of rice.

2) Cook the rice for 1 cycle on brown rice setting (because of the longer cooking time) and check for doneness when the cycle is complete.  If your rice cooker only has a white rice setting, let the rice sit on “keep warm” an extra 10 minutes to finish absorbing the liquid.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

Look at all that fluffy rice!

3) Remove the cooked rice from the rice cooker and keep it ready to add to the sautéed vegetables from the instructions below.

These instructions make approximately 3 cooked cups of rice and references a basic rice cooker with a ¾ cup scoop as 1 scoop and approximately 14 ounces of liquid filling to the “2 scoops” line. I add an extra ¼ cup of water because Arborio rice needs to absorb more liquid in order to get it fluffy and cooked through in the middle. If your rice still has too much bite after the cooking cycle, add a couple extra tablespoons of water and cook it again for another 5 to 10 minutes. Compared to cooking on your stovetop, this process uses very little energy, is super easy, and will make sure that the rice is perfectly cooked when added to the sautéed vegetables.

Sautéed Peppers Ingredients:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

That’s a tasty batch of seasonings and ingredients!

  • 1 c. Poblano pepper, finely diced and seeded
  • ¾ c. Red bell pepper, finely diced and seeded
  • ¾ c. Sweet yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Butter
  • 1 tbsp. Pressed fresh garlic
  • ¼ tsp. Ground black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp. Sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. Ground coriander
  • 1 ½ c. Sweet baby yellow and white corn (fresh or from freezer bag)
  • ½ c. All natural bacon bits
  • 3 c. Prepared Arborio rice (from instructions above)
  • 3 tbsp. Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 oz. Crumbled queso fresco
  • ¼ Fresh lemon

Directions:

1) Prepare the produce as directed in the ingredients.

2) Melt the butter in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

A little bit of butter goes a long way toward fusing together these flavors.

3) Add the Poblano pepper, red bell pepper, and onion to the melted butter. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

The addition of garlic will kick things up a few notches.

4) Turn the heat to a medium setting. Add the pressed garlic, coriander, black peppercorns, and sea salt to the peppers and onion. Sauté for 2 more minutes until garlic is fragrant.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

It’s all starting to come together…

5) Add the corn and bacon bits and continue to stir and sauté the ingredients for 2 more minutes.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

Time to introduce the rice to the game!

6) Turn off the heat. Add the rice from above to the pan. Stir everything together to incorporate the flavors.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

A little lemon goes a long way.

7) Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the rice and stir one more time.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

All the garnishes you need to complete your dish!

8) Serve with a garnish of queso fresco, chopped cilantro, extra bacon bits, and fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Poblano and Sweet Corn Arborio Rice

Enjoy!

In general, the cooking time for this Arborio rice dish is relatively minimal, so it’s perfect for a side or dinner on a weeknight. While it’s filling enough for me as a main course, feel free to feature it with a leftover grilled beef, chicken, or pork dish.

Check in next week for another Cooking with Less Kilowatts series entry ready to help you create delicious, homemade recipes while keeping energy use and effort to a minimum!

Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan

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