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The Best Thing I Ever Ate- Creamy Rice recipe

Categories: Ask Zarela

riceEver since I appeared on  the Food Network show The Best Thing I Ever Ate with my son, chef and Food Network star, Aaron Sanchez my website www.zarela.com has gone through the roof with viewers  signing  up for updates, writing me to ask that  share the recipe and visiting the restaurant in droves.  It literally got us through the summer! Thank you very much for your interest and for the many letters you’ve written (read some below.)

I had originally posted the original recipe that I learned when I was a young girl from  a Juarez caterer named Chonito and is not as creamy as the one we serve at the restaurant.  However, several people complained that it wasn’t as creamy as the one shown on television so I must warn you that I’ve doubled the amount of cream.   I personally prefer the original and  you can easily adapt it by halving the amount of crema agria preparada.

This is a superior party dish that  can be easily preassembled 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.

Steve Winston of www.spanishtable.com , a great website and resource for products from Spain says:

This is my favorite Zarela recipe!  This time of year, I use fresh corn and boil the cobs to make a stock to cook the rice in.


4  cups water

2  cups Uncle Ben’s or other converted rice

1  Tablespoon butter

2  teaspoons salt

For the sour cream mixture (crema agria preparada):

2  cups sour cream

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 minced garlic clove

2   tablespoons lard or vegetable oil

2   poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and deveined

1/2  cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove

1 16 ounce can corn

1/2 pound grated cheddar cheese

1.- Bring water to a boil and add buttter 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


2.- Meanwhile, combine the sour cream with the chopped onion and cilantro

and add salt to taste.

3.- Heat the lard in a frying pan and add the chopped onion and garlic clove.

Dice the poblanos and add to pan when the onion is wilted.  Saute for one

minute.  Let cool and combine with the rice.

4.- Drain the can of corn well and add to the cool rice and poblano mixture.

Add the sour cream mixture and mix in the grated cheese.

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.