Thursday, February 18, 2010

Baked Brown Rice... Say what?

Reasons why one might need to know how to cook rice in the oven:

1) You're making brown rice, and it happens to turn out better in the oven.

2) You have too many dishes on the stove, and not one more burner is available for rice.

3) Your gas is out in your building because of a carbon monoxide leak and someone was hospitalized. You cannot use your stove (or hob, depending on where you're from), but you can use your oven, because it happens to be electric. You also happen to have an electric tea kettle. (Doesn't everybody?)

Okay. Yes. Number 3 is the reason I tried this recipe...

But listen, you should just try brown rice this way and trust me. I don't know about you, but I've had a lot of trials and tribulations with it in the past. It usually takes longer than the directions on the packaging say and never actually gets tender. I didn't have high expectations before trying this recipe, (any high expectations for the day were squashed by our loss of gas, and thus, loss of heating) but was very pleasantly surprised when the rice actually turned out perfectly fluffy and soft!

This method completely gets it right. No more half-cooked, too-al-dente-to-be-considered-al-dente brown rice. No more scorched bottom-of-the-pot brown rice. No more soupy, even-though-it-cooked-for-twice-as-long-as-the-directions-said brown rice. The texture will be correct.

It also seemed to taste better (probably because it was cooked more thoroughly) than when I make it on the stove.

And that all makes sense because this is Alton Brown's recipe. (Alton Brown is never wrong.) The oven, according to Alton, provides multi-directional heat which produces even cooking. You wont even have to stir once you put it in the oven.

served right out of the oven, topped with a little bit of soy sauce

leftovers used in fried rice the following day

And by the way, guys, looks like we'll be heading home in the next couple of weeks. (Not a moment too soon, I might add!) And by home I mean my in-laws' home until we get the law school/job/new house or apartment, etcetera, etcetera situation ironed out. So, boo that my beloved rotisserie will still be buried in storage upon our arrival! But, hooray that we get to come home to mom-in-law's yummy food!

Things are going to be chaotic for a little while, but I'll do my best to keep blogging. (I really like blogging.)

Cheers, friends!

Baked Brown Rice
adapted from Alton Brown via
serves 4-6

• 1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
• 2 1/2 cups water or stock
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.

Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or 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.

Fried Brown Rice
I like a high-ish ratio of vegetables to rice in my fried rice. If you don't, consider adding more rice, or using only half an onion, or less broccoli or peas. Baby bok choy and shitake mushrooms go well in this fried rice too.

• 2 cups leftover brown rice
• 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce, or to taste
• 3/4 cup cooked meat or tofu, chopped
• ½ cup frozen peas
• ½ cup broccoli florets
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 medium carrot, chopped
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1 teaspoon minced ginger
• 2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil for frying
• Chopped scallions, optional

Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large wok or frying pan. Add chopped onion, carrot and broccoli and cook for 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Move vegetables to one side of pan and add beaten eggs. Tip pan back so that egg creates a thin layer on surface the of the pan. Once the egg is set, break it up with a wooden spoon, and mix with vegetables.

Add rice, peas, scallions, soy sauce and meat or tofu and continue to fry for about 3 minutes more, or until peas are heated through.


Adam said...

This rice, when combined in a stir fry, is also really good to shovel in your mouth at 1am when you get really hungry from being up too late.

kate said...

So, when I saw that you were staying at your in-laws, I immediately thought Wisconsin. And I was like NOOOOO! But then I realized your in-laws live up the street. HOORAY!

Andrea said...

KATE! Let's walk dogs together in the foothills. I'm going to lurk by your house every morning with Louie. He sent me a text message saying he misses you and Jinny.

kate said...

Haha! YES!

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