I have to admit that despite my love of cooking and my ever-developing prowess in the kitchen, there are some things, dare I even say basic things, that elude me. Toast is one. I burn it. I burn it all the time. My son, husband, even daughter could put bread in the toaster and it would come out beautifully. Me? I could put the same type of bread in the very same toaster, never move a dial, never push a different button, and the toast would still burn.
Until recently, rice also belonged in this category. It was either overdone or underdone or too sticky or too mushy or just plain not good. Rice i s such a simple thing, yet it seemed almost impossible to master. So what have I done all of these years? Bought instant microwavable rice. The problem with that approach is that compared to the cost of a bag of rice that I have to make myself, the microwavable kind is pretty expensive.
Thanks to Martha Stewart I’ve finally discovered the secret. What is it? Don’t follow the instructions on the package.
I showed you this method before as part of another recipe, but decided that it needed its own post since rice is such a great accompaniment to so many dishes. That, and after making it over and over and over again many, many times since January, I’ve got it down pat. The photos and text below are a reworking of the rice portion of January’s Chicken and Rice recipe. The changes reflect tricks I’ve picked up that seem to make the rice turn out better for me. I’ve presented these tips in italics for you.
So, without further ado…
Basic White Rice
slightly adapted from Rice recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, episode 106
1 cup long grain white rice
1 cup + 1 tbsp. water (the extra tablespoon helps, trust me)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tbsp. butter
Rinse the rice in a colander or strainer to remove the excess starch; set aside.
In a medium sauce pan (the heavier the better; I’ve discovered that my thick Calphalon pot– which is an older 3-1/2 quart version of this one–that I usually only use for making caramel or sauces works much better than the thinner Revereware pot in these photos), combine the water,
butter (I like using a half a tablespoon rather than the 1 teaspoon called for in the original recipe; I don’t know why it makes the difference, but it just seems to add a little more something, something to the rice),
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat,
and then add the rice, bringing it all back to a boil.
Once rice has reached a boil (which happens very fast), reduce the heat so the rice is at a simmer.
Cover the rice and let it cook for about 16 to 18 minutes (16 for a thinner pot, 18 for the heavier pot).
It will look a little odd when it’s done—don’t worry. Thanks to boy for his picture here. I had to step away for a bit, so he kept an eye and ear out, and when the timer went off, he took two shots for me so that you could see what the rice looks like at this stage.
What I forgot was that he’s almost a foot shorter than I am. I love seeing things from his perspective.
Remove it from the heat, and let it sit covered for
10 12 minutes so that the rice can continue steaming. The 12 minutes seems to work okay for the thinner pot, but the heavy bottomed one requires something more along the lines of 18 minutes. If desired, you can add an additional teaspoon of butter to the rice at this point. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.
When finished, remove the lid
and fluff the rice with a fork.
Serve it with whatever you’d like.
Yield: approximately 4-6 servings, depending on desired serving size
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