In a heavy-based 3-qt. saucepan with a tight lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, poblano, and garlic, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened and the spices are very fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Add the rice and salt, and stir well to coat each grain with oil. Toast for a full 5 minutes, stirring regularly to keep the grains separated and to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan (the rice may turn opaque before 5 minutes is up, but keep going). Reduce the heat to low if there are any signs of scorching.
Fluff the rice by slipping the tines of a fork down into the rice alongside the edge of the pan. Gently lift and toss the rice toward the center of the pan. Continue this process as you work your way around the perimeter. Then add your finishing-touch ingredients and gently fold them in with the fork, using a similar gentle fluffing motion.
Add the chicken broth and tomatoes, stir once, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the pilaf sit, still covered, for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, finely grate 1 Tbs. zest from the lime, and then cut the lime into wedges.
Once the pilaf has rested, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Using the fork, gently fold in the cilantro, jalapeño, and lime zest. Season to taste with salt. Serve with the lime wedges for spritzing over the rice.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on eight servings;
Photo: Scott Phillips