Brown Rice

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: About 45 minutes

Brown rice can substitute for white rice in a vast number of recipes, as you’ll see in this chapter, so it would be a mistake to think of it as some weird health-food phenomenon. Nutritionally, of course, it’s far superior; taste-wise, it’s neither better nor worse, only different. Like white rice, indeed like any grain, it’s improved by using stock or other liquids instead of water.

Brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice, though the technique is similar. But know this: Brown rice can be cooked very efficiently using the method for Cooking Grains, the Easy Way. And as long as this is the first thing you tackle when you get in the kitchen, you can still prepare a meal in which brown rice plays a role in just about 45 minutes, certainly under an hour.

11/2 cups brown rice

Large pinch salt

Put the rice in a small saucepan with water to cover by about 1 inch. Add the salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then adjust the heat so the mixture simmers gently. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the water is not evaporating too quickly (you can add a little more liquid if necessary). When the liquid has been absorbed, taste and see if the rice is tender or nearly so. If not, add about 1/2 cup more liquid and continue to cook, covered.

When the rice is tender, you can serve it or turn the heat off or keep it at an absolute minimum and let it sit for 15 or even 30 minutes, during which time it will become a bit drier.