I’ve confessed that I was a very picky eater growing up. One food, in particular, that I loathed to eat was rice. Rice! My entire family loved rice. We ate it quite often. In fact, one of my parent’s original attractions was that they both ate a bowl of rice for lunch every day – what a fun thing to have in common! I was the lone dissenter.
And I grew up. I still hated rice. But, the thing about rice is that it is everywhere. It is used in so many different cuisines! And, it is cheap. Oh, so cheap. And, if you get the right type, pretty darn good for you too! But, I hated it.
But I WANTED to like it! I wanted to like it SO MUCH, that I tried cooking it every way that I could, hoping to find a recipe that I would like. For years, this went on. Most people’s favorite recipe was to simply microwave up some white rice with butter, salt and pepper – perhaps a little bit of sugar. Coincidentally, this is my LEAST favorite way to eat rice. I tried steamed rice. I tried pre-made rice packets. I tried sweet rices. I tried pilafs. I tried cold rice dishes. I tried hot rice cereal (another of my least favorite foods). I tried steaming wild rice, and long grain rice. I finally found sticky rice, and adored it! I found that I like homemade beans and rice, so long as I get the combo just so. I found that I love risotto (just in time to find out that I can no longer tolerate the cheese substitute we were using). And ultimately, after close to a decade of trying different rices, I have finally found that I really enjoy savory, long grain, brown rices.
And I can’t have come this far on my journey with rice and not share my favorite recipe!
Tasty, Hearty Rice
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil – I use olive oil, but this is pretty forgiving. Use any light, low flavor oil
1/2 C Chopped Onion
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/8 tsp each of parsley, sage and paprika
1 C Long Grain Brown Rice – or whatever type of rice you have on hand
2 C Chicken Stock
1 C Water, plus more as needed
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is good and hot, add oil. Let the oil warm for just a minute, then add onions. Saute until the onions are translucent, then add garlic. Cook, stirring gently, one more minute, until garlic is browned. Add parsley, sage and paprika, and cook, stirring, for another minute. Next, add rice, and toast it, stirring to combine. Continue toasting and stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes. When rice is all lightly toasted and fragrant, add the chicken broth and water to the pan. Stir well, then bring to a simmer. When the liquid is bubbling gently, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for approximately 40 minutes, or until rice is as tender as you like. I prefer to cook mine with the lid off, so I can smell it and hear it to monitor its progress. However, it is just as good if it is cooked covered. Just keep an eye on it, stir it often, and add water as it cooks off.
When the rice is nearly done, it is easy to add in some other veggies, if desired. I love to toss in peas or green beans. Carrots are fantastic as well. I often grab leftover veggies from the fridge and toss in when there is just enough time left on the rice for the veggies to warm up.
This rice reheats well and freezes well, too. I usually make a big batch at once and then use the leftovers for lunches, along with leftover veggies and meat.
Finally, I am at peace with rice, and I, like my parents, often enjoy a bowl of it for lunch!
What is your favorite way to cook rice?