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In 2005-2006, only white rice appeared on A Veggie Venture. So you'd never guess that the "house rice" is actually brown rice and how often it makes the menu. Here, brown rice is a kitchen staple, right along with broccoli and chicken stock. Why the recipe reticence, then? Well, my "house recipe" for rice comes from Cook's Illustrated, the folks who test and test and test again, until a dish comes out exactly right, defying myth and tradition – unless myth and tradition actually work. So like most food writers and food bloggers, I hesitate to give away their hard-earned techniques, as much as I appreciate them.
But brown rice is so good for us – and the Cook's Illustrated rice so nutty- and buttery-tasting and yes, foolproof – that I asked for permission to share it online. And lo, they said yes! So if you've struggled with brown rice – wet and soupy? burnt and crunchy? – look no further. This is YOUR recipe, just as it's been mine week-in and week-out for almost two years.
If you're not a Cook's Illustrated subscriber, let me recommend the magazine as a great resource for experienced and new cooks alike. The recipes are real and reliable and without pretension. The testers go out of their way to eliminate unneeded steps and calories both. But if extra steps and calories pay off? Well, they'll say so and why. The technique tips, the product tips, the tool tips, the appliance tips? Well, they're terrific too.
And to fulfill (or encourage!) yearnings for country living, sit down with a fresh cup of hot coffee and a thick slice of fresh bread to savor Christopher Kimball's essays about rural Vermont. It's a must-read for me, something to look forward to and to think back on.
So yes, Cook's Illustrated, many thanks. For permission to reprint your recipe, to be sure, but also for issue after issue of reading and recipes worth both time and dare I say? the price of a subscription.
"It's awesome! Easy to do, nutty in flavor." ~ Ruth
"I subscribe to Cook's Illustrated and I've been making this since the day it came out." ~ Randi
"Baking brown rice works awesome! It is the only way I will make it!" ~ Anonymous
"I made tonight. Perfect." ~ Sunny
"My kids would never eat [brown rice] and preferred white, until now." ~ Anonymous
"This rice is WONDERFUL!" ~ Brandi
"Delicious, and the texture is PERFECT everytime." ~ Anonymous
"Best brown rice I've ever made!" ~ Anonymous
"Absolutely the only way to cook brown rice at high altitude." ~ Anonymous
"The absolute only way to make brown rice!" ~ Melinda
COOK's ILLUSTRATED's FOOLPROOF OVEN-BAKED BROWN RICE
Time to table: 80 minutes
Makes 4 cups
To minimize any loss of water through evaporation, cover the saucepan and use the water as soon as it reaches a boil. An 8-inch ceramic baking dish with a lid may be used instead of the baking dish and foil. To double the recipe, use a 13 by 9-inch baking dish; the baking time need not be increased.
1 1/2 cups long-, medium- or short-grain brown rice
2 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread rice in 8-inch square baking dish.
2. Bring water and butter or oil to boil, covered, in medium saucepan over high heat; once boiling, immediately stir in salt and pour water over rice. Cover baking dish tightly with doubled layer of foil. Bake rice 1 hour, until tender.
3. Remove baking dish from oven and uncover. Fluff rice with dinner fork, then cover dish with clean kitchen towel; let rice stand 5 minutes. Uncover and let rice stand 5 minutes longer; serve immediately.
Reprinted with permission from the May/June 2004 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine. For a trial issue of Cook’s call 800-526-8442. Selected articles and recipes, as well as subscription information, are available online at www.cooksillustrated.com.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
NOT JUST FOR BROWN RICE! There's no reason to stick with just brown rice! First, I started baking a mix of brown rice and wild rice. Then I realized, nearly any mixture works, it's such a great way to use up odds and ends of grains and legumes in the pantry, see Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf with Quinoa, Barley, Kamut & Other Grains.
HANDY REMINDER I cook brown rice so often that I keep a jar of brown rice in the pantry, with the recipe written right inside the lid.
PYREX vs CORNINGWARE I bought an inexpensive eight-inch square Pyrex baking dish just for making brown rice but have found it to be useful otherwise too. (2011 Pyrex ain't what it used to be. The 8x8 cracked and so now I use Corningware.) I also use the Corningware glass lid instead of foil but have noticed that the seal is not quite as tight as foil and that means the rice turns out just a tiny bit drier.
BOILING THE WATER I boil the water in the microwave in a two-cup Pyrex measure – measuring two cups plus a third cup, there's lots of room.
OTHER LIQUIDS For Hurricane Rice, I cooked the rice in beer rather than water. I often use No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock and honestly, often wonder about trying coconut milk.
SALT & FAT I add the salt and butter (or some times, bacon grease) directly to the uncooked rice, then stir them in when adding the boiling water.
NO NEED TO FULLY HEAT THE OVEN I put the rice straight in the oven as soon as it's ready, even if the oven's not completely preheated, then set the timer for 60 minutes plus whatever preheat time is left.
RECYCLE THE FOIL Recycling works, the foil can be reused several times.
STEAMING THE RICE The cooked rice sticks to a clean kitchen towel so I use a paper towel – or just return the Corningware glass lid.
RATHER NOT USE THE OVEN? Try this recipe, Perfect Stovetop Brown Rice.
LEFTOVERS The rice is as moist as can be out of the oven but the leftovers can be a little dry. To fix this, just add a little stock to the rice and rewarm in the microwave.
RECIPES FOR USING COOKED BROWN RICE Cook this as often as I do, you'll find yourself looking for ways to use it up. Here are a few ideas:
Brown Rice Pancakes
Brown Rice & Quinoa Rice Pudding
Stir-Fried Brown Rice
Tomato & Rice Salad
2007: "I think the brand of rice you use makes a difference in the taste. I love Lundberg organic brown basmati and also the short grain brown." ~ Cheryl
2007: Add your favorite stew (already cooked) to the (uncooked) rice and cook as usual. ~ Ray
2007: Add sautéed bell pepper, onion and a touch of curry to the uncooked rice and bake as usual. ~ Sunny
2007: "I let it soak for about 30 minutes before baking it. I use a non-stick spray with a baking dish with lid." ~ Marye
2008: "This is one product that should definitely be organic." ~ Anonymous
2010: I use a bundt pan ... the extra surface area (more heat contact for the rice) reduces the baking time to 40 minutes. ~ Shannon from Daily Pie
2011: "I use chicken stock ... add some thawed peas and carrots, a cup or so, to make the portion larger. Stirring in a teaspoon or so of rice vinegar at the end adds a little flavor too." ~ Anonymous
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MORE FAVORITE RICE RECIPES~ Hurricane Rice ~
~ Finnish Carrot Casserole ~
~ Tomato & Rice Salad ~
~ more rice recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Julia Child's Soubise (Onion & Rice Casserole) ~
~ Mini Porcupine Meatballs ~
~ Pork Chops & Rice Oven Dinner ~
~ more rice recipes ~
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