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Creamy Rice Casserole-Arroz con Crema

creamy rice.jpg (2)

Every time the Food Networks runs the segment on The Best Thing I Ever Ate where my son Aaron Sanchez says his favorite dish is my creamy rice, I get dozens of emails asking for the recipe.  I always refer them to my website and only today discovered that the recipes are being moved to the new site that we will launch in about 10 days. So mea culpa.  Here is the recipe:

Recipe: Creamy Rice Casserole

Summary: Here is a superior party dish because it is delicious, economical, holds well and can be easily pre-assembled and reheated just prior to serving. This is why it is high on the list of all caterers in Northern Mexico, myself included. What makes it a favorite of all eaters is that it has layers of flavors – creamy and hot, crunchy corn kernels, and the cilantro adds a refreshing after-taste.


  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups Uncle Ben’s or other converted rice
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
  • 2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • One 1o- ounce package frozen or one 16-ounce can corn
  • 1/2 pound grated cheddar cheese


  1. Bring water to a boil and add butter and salt. When the butter is melted, add the rice and bring back to a boil. Lower the heat to very low, cover the rice with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, Take rice out of the saucepan and spread on a baking sheet to cool or allow to cool in the pan uncovered.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the sour cream with the1/4 cup  chopped onion and cilantro and add salt to taste.
  3. Heat the lard in a frying pan and add the remaining chopped onion and garlic clove. Dice the poblanos and add to pan when the onion is wilted. Saute for one minute. Add the corn and saute until heated through, about 1 –  2 minutes. Let cool and combine with the rice.
  4. Add the poblano-corn micture to the cool rice , stirring ell to combine. Add the sour cream mixture and mix in the grated cheese. in
  5. 5.- Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through in a 350 degree oven. If using a pyrex dish, the oven temperature should be 325 degrees.

Quick Notes

This is the original version and the one I prefer. However, the one you saw on television has double the amount of the sour cream mixture. We have to do that at Zarela restaurant to keep it moist. So take your pick. I also get a lot of questions about the use of Uncle Ben’s rice. I’m sorry but that’s the only one that works.

Copyright © Zarela Martinez.
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