Okay, I am not generally a fan of brown rice – no matter how precisely I measure water, rice, and cooking time, it always ends up either slightly undercooked or slightly overcooked with a texture like oatmeal. I have even had it end up (and how does this even happen?!) as a lovely combination of the two. Up until recently, I really have not cared for brown rice at all. All this changed, though, when I tried a technique I heard about wherein you actually cook the rice in the oven. Bizarre, I know, but this has produced the best and most consistently delicious and perfect brown rice I’ve ever tasted. It’s fluffy and slightly nutty and a tiny bit chewy in the most amazing way, and I could seriously eat it with anything (or with nothing, just plain). I’m experimenting with stirring in fresh herbs after cooking but haven’t played with it enough to give you any useful info on that front. The only downside is (and this is true of any scratch-made, non-processed brown rice) that it takes quite a bit more time than white rice, so a lot of times I’ll make a double batch because it reheats like a dream (a sprinkle of water on a serving, then pop covered in the microwave til hot and it’s like new). Finally I can eat brown rice, knowing I’m eating something better for my body, and actually enjoy it as much as or more than its polished, processed cousin.
The Best Brown Rice
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice (I think you can use any type of brown rice, I just like the brown basmati the best and its the only kind I’ve tried this with)
2 1/3 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread rice in an 8-inch square (glass, not metal) baking dish (use a 9″x13″ baking dish if you are doubling the recipe – no need to adjust cooking time).
Put water and oil in a medium saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, immediately stir in the salt and pour the water over the rice – if the rice gets pushed around while pouring, use a fork or spatula to adjust it back to an even layer after all the water is in. Cover the baking dish tightly with a double layer of foil and bake on middle rack for 1 hour. (Even if your dish has an oven-safe cover, I would put at least one layer of foil on the dish before covering to make sure you have a good, vapor-proof seal – you want all that lovely steam produced as the water heats to stay in the dish and absorb into your rice.)
Remove the baking dish from the oven, uncover, and fluff the rice with a fork. Cover the dish with a clean kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover and let the rice stand for 5 minutes longer before serving.