After taking a week off (we had to go out of town for a funeral and to visit some ill relatives), I am back with what you might consider a pretty boring recipe. Brown rice. Yes, I know it's not all that exciting, but this is a really great recipe to know. We eat a lot of rice around here, not only because it's super cheap, but also because it just seems to go with so many main dishes. It's very versatile! I know that brown rice is much healthier than white, but until I found this recipe I had very little success making it. It takes much, much longer to cook than white, and I kept ending up with rice that was either still crunchy or rice that had seemingly exploded and no longer looked like rice grains at all.
Enter Alton Brown. I don't know what you think of him, but I think he's a culinary genius. I found his recipe for baking brown rice and I haven't looked back since. It still takes a long time, but the thing I like about this recipe is that you put it together, throw it in the oven, and then you don't have to think about it for an hour. Then after the hour is up, you open the oven door to find brown rice perfection. The rice comes out tender, but still with a tiny bit of bite to it. This method preserves the nutty chewiness of the brown rice. And the grains remain intact; no exploding mess here!
Baked Brown Rice
1½ cups brown rice
2½ cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place the rice into an 8” square glass baking dish.
Bring the water, oil, and salt just to a boil in a covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.
To make Gingered Brown Rice: Follow same directions, adding 8-10 thinly sliced coins of ginger to the rice and water before baking. When done baking, discard the ginger and fluff.
Makes 4 servings.
See? Couldn't be easier. The recipe originally called for butter instead of olive oil, but I use the oil because of my daughter's dairy allergy. Still comes out perfectly.
You can use this baked rice the same way you would use white rice. Eat it like it is, or doctor it up by stirring in extra ingredients. Next time I make it I might try adding some sauteed onions to it before it goes into the oven. It would just give an extra dimension of flavor.
So the next time you go to pull out your white rice, reach for the brown instead and give this recipe a try.