Here’s a thought… who knows what will come of it… maybe I’ll follow through, maybe I’ll space it. Who knows. I’m not making any promises, but here it is anyway. How about a tip a week on Saturday? Call it Sa-tip-urday.
Maybe you’re trying to get more whole grains in your diet. We’re told we need 25 grams of whole grains per day and it’s really not that hard to get if you plan ahead. One easy way is to switch from white rice to brown rice. That’s probably nothing you haven’t heard before. For me, it didn’t seem easy. I didn’t like brown rice and I found it impossible to cook without burning. I’d stink up the kitchen and wind up with a black-brown mushy mess and nothing to serve my stir fry with. Until (insert hero music) Cheapskate Lady Mary Hunt posted a fool proof oven method for cooking rice. And it is fool-proof. Produces perfectly cooked brown rice with very little effort and though I’ve done a lot wrong to this thing, its magic never gets tripped up. So… without further ado, here’s my version:
Fool-Proof Oven Brown Rice
Prep time: 7 minutes+ (depending on your altitude & how long it takes water to boil)
Cook time: 1 hr (see tips below)
Yield: 6 hearty servings
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice (short, long… doesn’t matter)
- 2 1/3 cups boiling water
- 2 tsp oil or butter (I usually use canola oil)
- 1 tsp salt (I usually omit)
Set the oven to 375 degrees F. Set a full kettle on the stove to boil. Get out a 9×9 pan & measure the rice into it. Pour oil over rice (if you’re using butter, put it in your measuring cup that you’ll measure the boiling water in). Get out foil and make a double layer large enough to cover your 9×9. When the water comes to boil, measure it in a glass measuring cup (this is important… don’t try a plastic measuring cup… not fun, I can tell you), pour it over the rice, slap the foil on and pinch it tightly around the pan. Stick ‘er in the oven for an hour.
- I usually double this and cook it in a 9×13. I measure 2 cups (about 4 servings) into a freezer bag, smash it flat and freeze a stack of them. Need brown rice fast? Easy schmeasy. Pull it out of the freezer, break it up into a glass dish (get out some agression… smash it on the edge of the counter), microwave and VOILA! You’re the hero with effortless brown rice on a weeknight.
- I’ve forgotten this in the oven for up to 30 minutes beyond the cooking time with no ill results. I’ve also turned the oven off at 40 minutes and (keeping the door closed) left the rice in for a few hours till I got home… comes out beautifully.
- I’ve forgotten the oil… comes out fine. I almost never put the salt in… comes out fine.
As for not liking brown rice, I can understand that. I struggled with it too, but it’s really worth the effort to overcome. The nutritional difference is huge. Here’s some ideas:
- Avoid Mahatma brown rice. I don’t know what it is about that brand, but I just don’t like it. Tastes too whole-grainy I guess.
- Go for short grain brown rice. I like to get mine from the bulk bins at Whole Foods. It’s plumper and has a higher “meat” to husk ratio. If you’ve had brown rice at P.F. Changs and like it, this will help you; they use short grain.
- If you’re still not liking it, mix your white & brown rice half & half (or more). Over time increase the brown rice until you’re eating all brown.
Bonus tip: I don’t always have brown rice stored up in the freezer. When I need a fast grain, I reach for quinoa (pronounced keen-wah… now don’t you feel smart? ;o) ). It’s a tiny ancient grain that packs a serious punch. It has all the amino acids, 6g protein per serving and cooks up in a flash. Dump it in the pan, put in double the water, bring to a boil & simmer till the husk spirals out (about 15 minutes). 1/4 cup (dry) is a serving and turns into about 1/2 cup. I buy mine at Whole Foods. They have a one pound sack for less than $2. At my local grocery store, it comes in a snooty box and goes for $6.