Confession: pillowy (but nutrient stripped) white bread has a firmer grip on my heart than the better-for you-whole wheat variety, but when it comes to rice, brown rice seamlessly K.O.’s white rice’s butt out of the ring every time. I’m sorry, but it’s so much better AND better for you. It’s tender and plump, hearty with texture and has a substantial chew. When I eat it, I feel like I’m gnawing through different layers of textures and flavors, all crunchy with taste. That is, if it’s made right.
How many times have you been out at a restaurant where you’re given the good brown rice? And then you go to your home’s stove-top, anticipating it’s wonderful potential, and are sadly left with mush that is undercooked? Since it’s undercooked, you add more water, which leaves you with what I’d like to term, schlop. Does that happen to you? Or is it just me?
Once again, Cook’s Illustrated has saved my life and come up with a much easier technique: baking the rice. The amount of water we usually use for white rice cooking, usually 2:1, shouldn’t be the same for brown. It should be a little bit less, and that’s why we are usually left with an unappetizing mess. This recipe is absolutely foolproof. Stick the rice and water in the oven, cover, come back an hour later (or stare at the snow while you wait), and you’re left with PERFECT supple brown rice. I almost feel like making a shrine for this recipe/technique. Brown rice in its best form, with 2 minutes of work. Just the way I like it.
Super easy oven-baked brown rice perfection
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Notes: make sure that you add the water to the rice immediately after it boils so you don’t lose any water from evaporation.
Want to double this? Easy! Use a 13 x 9 baking dish instead and bake for the same amount of time.
1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice , medium-grain brown rice, or short-grain brown rice
2 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Adjust oven rack to middle position; set oven at 375 degrees. Spread rice in 8-inch-square glass baking dish.
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.
Remove baking dish from oven and uncover (careful, watch out for steam!). 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.
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