Thursday, February 1, 2007

The Best Way to Cook Rice

Adapted from Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

Serves 4

This is a rice pilaf recipe that originated from Pierre Franey. I make it all the time.

The Best Way to Cook Rice
Adapted from Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer, attributed to Pierre Franey

2 tablespoons butter or oil
1½ tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 cup converted rice (Uncle Ben's is converted rice)
2 drops Tabasco Sauce, original red
1½ cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf (don't leave this out; it adds a subtle, lovely fragrance to this dish.)

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Melt the butter or heat the oil in an ovenproof saucepan with a lid, and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is just translucent.

Add the rice, and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth, tabasco, bay leaf, and salt to taste, if necessary (but be careful in case the broth is salty), and bring to a boil. Stir once with a chopstick. Cover, and place the saucepan in the oven. Bake for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven.

At this point, if you remove the pan from the heat without lifting the lid, it can sit for 10 minutes.

Toss the grains of rice lightly with a fork, and remove the bay leaf before serving. You can stir in a little butter if you like. This will make it more creamy, so if you want it dry, don't do this. That will depend on what you want to use it for or what you want to serve it with.

You can altelrnatively cook this on top of the stove. To do so, at the point right before you would put the saucepan in the oven, turn the heat on the burner to the lowest setting it can go down to (you might need a diffuser for this), and simmer. After 16 minutes lift the lid for a second to see how far along it's come. It should still take about 18 minutes. Once done, as stated above, you can let it sit for 10 minutes, removing from the heat and keeping the lid on.

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