The Best Brown Rice Ever

I am indebted to Cook’s Illustrated / America’s Test Kitchen for the wealth of excellent culinary tips they have given me over the years, with their unique way of pairing two passions of mine—cooking and science.  I have learned so much from them!

Their brown rice recipe is a favorite and a weekly staple at our house.  Not only does this method require little labor on the cook’s part (throw it in the oven and forget about it until it’s done), it also yields the best-tasting brown rice I’ve ever had—evenly cooked, fluffy, separate, delicious grains, and all with no mess to scape off the bottom of a pan.

I never cared much for brown rice (mainly because of the sodden, dense texture) until I tried making it this way.  Everyone in our family loves it.

My recipe is adapted from the Cook’s Illustrated recipe entitled Fool-Proof Oven-Baked Brown Rice.  I haven’t changed things so much as I’ve streamlined some of the steps to make it simpler yet just as tasty.  I’ve also doubled their recipe to fill a 9 x 13-inch pan.

FOOL-PROOF OVEN-BAKED BROWN RICE

3 cups long-grain brown rice (I like Lundberg long-grain or jasmine brown, which I buy in bulk)

4 3/4 – 5 cups boiling water (I often substitute homemade chicken stock—adjust salt as necessary if your stock is seasoned)

1 T. butter, chicken fat or coconut oil

1 tsp. salt (I like Real Salt)

Spread rice in 9 x 13-inch glass baking pan.  Add salt and your choice of fat, and pour in the boiling water or chicken stock.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour in preheated 375 degree oven.

Remove rice from oven, remove foil, fluff with fork and serve.  So simple and so delicious!

Here’s a tasty variation (also from Cook’s Illustrated):

BROWN RICE WITH PARMESAN, LEMON AND HERBS

This is similar to the above recipe, using the same amounts of rice and water.  To the rice in the baking pan, add the water, reduce salt to 1/4 tsp., and add 2 small chopped onions which have been sauteed in 4 T. butter.

Cover tightly with foil and bake as above.

After baking, toss in 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley, 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tsp. grated lemon zest and 1 tsp. lemon juice.

You must use freshly chopped fresh herbs (not dried) and real, freshly-squeezed lemon juice and zest.  Oh, yummy!  It’s worth every ounce of extra effort, and I’m reminding myself that I need to make it this way again very soon!