Monday, March 9, 2009

Baked Brown Rice and Cajun Adaptation

Though I'd say I have had pretty good luck with making brown rice on the stove, I'm currently enamored of the Cook's Illustrated 'Foolproof Oven-Baked Brown Rice' recipe. Oftentimes I'll need to use most of the burners on the stove and I love the ease of throwing the rice in the oven and forgetting about it. We do have a rice cooker (two, actually), but one is far too big to make rice for a small family and the other takes 2 hours to cook brown rice. We never have two hours to spare for cooking rice.

Evan made gumbo again recently (really, we will get that recipe on here at some point!) and we did Paul Prudhomme's Basic Rice recipe from Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen using Cook's method and were pleased with the outcome. His recipe may actually be Creole rather than Cajun, so apologies if I chose the wrong appellation. That adaptation follows the generic recipe. We are thinking of trying an oven-baked jambalaya at some point, too, and will definitely post if we do. Prudhomme says to omit the green pepper if you're going to store the rice for any length of time, but we haven't found that it sours as he suggests.

I tried cooking a mix of brown rice and millet this way and it was not pretty. The millet soaked up most of the water, leaving the brown rice slightly crunchy. In future, I'll stick to cooking the grains separately.

1 1/2 c. brown rice (long or short grain, jasmine, basmati, etc)
2 1/3 c. water
2 tsp butter or olive oil (optional)
1/2 tsp salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Spread the rice the bottom of an 8-inch square pan (one with a lid is ideal, but we just use foil)
  3. Bring the water and butter/oil to a boil in a small saucepan with a lid
  4. As soon as the water comes to a boil, add the salt and pour over the rice in the square pan
  5. Give the rice and water a quick stir and cover with the lid or a double thickness of foil
  6. Put rice in the oven on the middle rack and cook for one hour
  7. Remove rice from the oven and take off the lid or foil. Use a fork to fluff the rice
  8. Cover the rice dish with a clean tea towel and let steam for 5 minutes; remove the tea towel and let sit another 5 minutes before serving
To the ingredients listed above, add
1 1/2 TBSP very finely chopped onion
1 1/2 TBSP very finely chopped celery
1 1/2 TBSP very finely chopped green bell pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
A pinch each of white pepper, ground black pepper and cayenne pepper

Follow the instructions for the generic baked brown rice.

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