Brown Rice - it's not as dull as it sounds

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I think it’s a pretty well-known fact that whole grains are better for us than grains that have been refined.

[Warning: Oversimplified non-scientific facts to follow…] When you eat whole grains (complex carbohydrates), which have the outer layer of bran and fiber intact, the body’s absorption rate of sugar is slowed down, keeping you feeling full longer and stopping your blood sugar from spiking up and down. And we all know what happens when our blood sugar starts jumping around. We eat. Usually more carbs. Which starts the whole process over again.

A perfect example of this is brown rice. White rice is a stripped down version of brown rice – stripped of the bran and fiber that once composed the outer layer.

With the outer layer removed, the newly-white rice is fluffier than its whole-grain counterpart. Which is why many people think they don’t like brown rice. Not fluffy enough. Oh, and also because it takes longer to cook than Minute Rice.

If speed is the issue, you can now buy Success Boil-in-Bag Rice in the brown rice version. It cooks in about ten minutes.

And I must admit, when I’m really in a hurry (i.e., Monday through Friday), I don’t see any reason at all not to use Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice which microwaves in 90 seconds. Ninety seconds. Really.

But a lot of times, on the weekends of course, I like to make a version of brown rice that you can actually bake in the oven. It meets all of my criteria for easy cooking: Dump everything in a baking dish, cover with foil, throw it in the oven and ignore it for an hour or so. Plus it tastes great. Fluffy even.

This recipe originally came from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine and it comes out perfect every time. For a little more flavor, you can substitute chicken, beef, or vegetable broth for the water.

Foolproof Oven-Baked Brown Rice

1-1/2 cups long-, medium- or short-grain brown rice
2-1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons butter or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375 F and move a rack to the middle position. Spread the rice into an 8-inch square, glass baking dish.

In a covered saucepan on the stove, bring the water and butter or oil to a boil over high heat. Once it begins to boil, stir in the salt and pour over the rice. Cover the baking dish tightly with a double layer of foil. Bake for one hour, until tender.

Remove from the oven and uncover. Fluff the rice with a fork, cover with a clean kitchen towel; let rice stand 5 minutes. Uncover for another 5 minutes, then serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

As always, you will find lots of recipes using brown rice on my wiki. Enjoy!


Cyndi said...

OK, I have a question for you. When you make the brown rice with black beans thing, do you serve it as a main dish or a side dish? The recipe is making my mouth water.

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

I usually only serve rice as a side dish - but that's only because Mr. JB would FREAK OUT if there wasn't any meat on the table!

I personally wouldn't have a problem with it being a main dish at all.