Cooking The Best Rice Recipes


Cooking Rice
There are two methods for cooking rice:
Immersion: In this method, the rice is boiled like pasta in a large unmeasured amount of salted water until tender, then drained. Unfortunately, the nutrients are also drained away.
Absorption: Here the rice is cooked in a measured quantity of liquid, all of which is absorbed, thus conserving the nutrients. The cooking time and amount of liquid depend on the variety of rice.
The rule of thumb when cooking rice is 2 cups of liquid to 1 cup of grain. If the cooking liquid is absorbed before the grain is tender, simply add more hot liquid. Or, if the grain is tender and some liquid remains, simply drain it off. Follow the instructions on the package for exact liquid measurements and estimated cooking times.
Before cooking, whole grains should be washed in cold water to remove any dust, chaff, or natural coatings that could impart a bitter taste. Place the grains in a sieve, then place in a bowl of cold water and swish the sieve back and forth. Lift out the sieve, pour off the water, and repeat until the water looks clear. Give the grains a final rinse, then drain.

Hot Fluffy Rice
2 cups water
1 cup regular long-grain rice
1 tablespoon butter or margarine (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
In 3-quart saucepan, heat water to boiling over high heat. Stir in rice, butter if using, and salt; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer, without stirring or lifting lid, until rice is tender and all liquid has been absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff rice with fork. Makes about 3 cups or 4 accompaniment servings.

Aromatic Rice
1 cup chicken broth
3⁄4 cup water
1 cup regular long-grain rice
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
seasonings (right)
In 3-quart saucepan, heat broth and water to boiling over high heat. Stir in rice and salt; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer, without stirring or lifting lid, until rice is tender and all liquid has been absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff rice with fork and add seasoning. Makes about 3 cups or 4 accompaniment servings.

Lemon-Parsley Rice
Cook as directed. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel.
Asian Rice
Cook as directed but omit salt. Stir in 2 green onions, chopped, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, and 1⁄4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil.
Lemon-Parmesan Rice
Cook as directed. Stir in 1⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel, and 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
Pepper Jack Rice
Cook as directed. Stir in 2 ounces Monterey Pepper-Jack cheese with jalapeño chiles, shredded (1⁄2 cup), and 3 green onions, thinly sliced.
Coconut Rice
Cook as directed. Stir in 1⁄2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (not cream of coconut), 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated lime peel, and pinch ground red pepper (cayenne).
Green Rice
Cook as directed but after the rice has cooked 15 minutes, stir in 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed; cover and cook 5 minutes longer. Stir in 2 ounces feta cheese, finely crumbled (1⁄2 cup).
Baked Rice
Here’s an alternative to rice cooked on the stove. Substitute chicken or beef broth for the water, if you wish, in which case, delete the salt.
2 cups boiling water
1 cup regular long-grain rice
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, cut into pieces
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease shallow 11⁄2-quart casserole or 8-inch square baking dish. In casserole, combine boiling water, rice, butter, and salt. Cover and bake until rice is tender and all liquid has been absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes. Fluff with fork. Makes about 3 cups or 4 accompaniment servings.

Persian Rice Pilaf
Sweet currants and a touch of spice create heavenly fragrant rice. Try this with grilled chicken or butterflied leg of lamb.
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup regular long-grain rice
1 can (141⁄2 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth or
13⁄4 cups Chicken Broth (page 62) or
Vegetable Broth (page 61)
1⁄4 cup water
1⁄4 cup dried currants
1⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
1⁄4 cup pine nuts (pignoli), toasted
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add rice; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, currants, pepper, and cinnamon; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer, without stirring or lifting lid, until rice is tender and all liquid has been absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes.
2. Remove rice from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Add orange peel, fluffing rice with fork until combined. Stir in pine nuts and parsley. Makes 4 cups or 4 accompaniment servings.
Paella
Every Spanish cook has his or her own version of paella, which may include a wide range of ingredients. The crucial ingredient in every paella is the rice. Opt for a medium-grain rice, such as Spanish Valencia, or a shortgrain rice, such as Italian Arborio, for their distinctive texture and the way the grains cling together when cooked. (Long-grain rice, which cooks up fluffy, can be substituted in a pinch.)

1 tablespoon olive oil
11⁄2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 fully cooked chorizo sausages (3 ounces each)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped v1⁄4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1⁄2 cup canned tomatoes in puree
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
2 cups medium- or short-grain rice
4 ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
21⁄2 cups water
1 can (141⁄2 ounces) chicken broth
11⁄2 teaspoons salt
1⁄4 teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads, crumbled
1⁄8 teaspoon dried thyme
1⁄2 bay leaf
1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
12 ounces medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
lemon wedges
1. In deep nonreactive 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add chicken and chorizo; cook until browned, about 10 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer chicken and chorizo to bowl.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and chopped red pepper to skillet; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and ground red pepper; cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with their puree and wine; cook, breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon, until liquid has evaporated.
3. Stir rice, green beans, water, broth, salt, saffron, thyme, and bay leaf into skillet. Thinly slice chorizo; return chorizo and chicken to skillet. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 20 minutes.
4. Tuck mussels into paella; cover and cook 3 minutes. Tuck shrimp into paella; cover and cook just until mussels have opened and shrimp are opaque throughout, about 3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf and any mussels that have not opened. Sprinkle paella with parsley and serve with lemon wedges. Makes 8 main-dish servings.

Cumin Rice with Black Beans
The time-honored combination of rice and beans is found throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Serve as a side dish for a juicy grilled steak.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
11⁄2 cups regular long-grain rice
1 can (141⁄2 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth or
13⁄4 cups Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth
11⁄4 cups water
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 can (15 to 19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
lime wedges
1. In 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cumin seeds; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth, water, and salt; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer, without stirring or lifting lid, until rice is tender and most of liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
2. Stir beans into rice. Cover and cook 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Spoon into serving bowl and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges. Makes about 6 cups or 6 accompaniment servings.

Brown Rice and Vegetable Pilaf
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup regular long-grain brown rice
21⁄4 cups water
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
11⁄4 teaspoons salt
1⁄8 teaspoon dried thyme
1⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch dried sage
In 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms; increase heat to medium-high and cook until mushrooms begin to brown and liquid has evaporated. Stir in garlic. Add rice; cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in water, carrots, salt, thyme, pepper, and sage; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until rice is tender and all liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Fluff with fork. Makes about 41⁄2 cups or 6 accompaniment servings.

Jambalaya
A Cajun favorite, jambalaya is a rice dish that has countless variations. Though it can be made with almost any favorite meat, poultry, or shellfish, we are partial to the combination of sausage and shrimp.

8 ounces hot Italian-sausage links, pricked with fork
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1⁄8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
11⁄2 cups regular long-grain rice
1 can (141⁄2 ounces) chicken broth or 13⁄4 cups Chicken Broth
11⁄4 cups water
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon dried thyme
1 can (14 to 16 ounces) tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 green onions, thinly sliced
hot pepper sauce (optional)
1. In nonreactive 5-quart Dutch oven, cook sausages over medium heat until browned, about 10 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer sausages to paper towels to drain. When cool enough to handle, cut sausages into 1⁄2-inch pieces.
2. To drippings in Dutch oven, add onion, green pepper, and celery; cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and ground red pepper and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in sausages, broth, water, salt, and thyme; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Stir in tomatoes; cover and cook 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp; cover and cook until shrimp are opaque throughout, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle with green onions. Serve with hot pepper sauce, if you like. Makes 6 main-dish servings.

Lemony Shrimp Risotto
2 lemons
2 cans (141⁄2 ounces each) chicken broth or
31⁄2 cups Chicken Broth
1 cup water
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons butter or margarine
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced (2 tablespoons)
2 cups Arborio rice (Italian short-grain rice) or medium-grain rice
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, leaving tail part of shell on, if you like
1 cup frozen peas
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1. From lemons, grate 2 teaspoons peel and squeeze 1⁄4 cup juice. In covered 2-quart saucepan, heat lemon juice, broth, water, and wine to boiling over high heat.
2. Meanwhile, in 3- to 31⁄2-quart microwave-safe casserole, combine butter, oil, and shallot. Cook, uncovered, in microwave oven on High until shallot softens, about 2 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat. Cook on High (100% power) 1 minute.
3. Stir hot broth mixture and lemon peel into rice mixture. Cover casserole with lid or vented plastic wrap and cook on Medium (50% power), stirring once, until most of liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
4. Stir in shrimp, frozen peas, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on Medium (50% power), stirring once, just until shrimp turn opaque throughout and rice is tender but still firm, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Makes 4 main-dish servings.

Risotto Milanese
Saffron-infused Risotto Milanese is the traditional accompaniment to Osso Buco. It is also delicious as a first course or as a meatless main course when followed by a generous mixed salad.

31⁄2 cups water
1 can (141⁄2 ounces) chicken broth or
13⁄4 cups Chicken Broth
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice (Italian short-grain rice) or medium-grain rice
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
1⁄4 teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads
1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. In 2-quart saucepan, heat water and broth to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover.
2. Meanwhile, in 4-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until rice grains are opaque. Add wine; cook until wine has been absorbed.
3. Add about 1⁄2 cup hot broth to rice, stirring until liquid has been absorbed. Continue cooking, adding broth about 1⁄2 cup at a time and stirring until most of liquid has been absorbed. After cooking 10 minutes, crumble saffron into rice. Continue cooking, adding remaining broth 1⁄2 cup at a time and stirring, until all broth has been absorbed and rice is tender but still firm, about 15 minutes longer (risotto should have a creamy consistency). Remove pot from heat; stir in Parmesan cheese. Makes about 51⁄2 cups.

Couscous
Couscous is not a grain but a tiny Moroccan pasta made from semolina flour. Here’s a basic recipe and some mouthwatering variations.

11⁄4 cups water
1⁄4 cup dark seedless raisins, dried currants, dried cranberries, or dried cherries (optional)
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 cup couscous (Moroccan pasta)
In 3-quart saucepan, combine water, raisins if using, butter, and salt; heat to boiling over high heat. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with fork. Makes about 3 cups or 4 accompaniment servings.

Lime Couscous
Prepare couscous as directed but omit raisins and add 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice and 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated lime peel to water.

Moroccan Couscous
Prepare couscous as directed but add 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1⁄4 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional), and 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin to water.

Dried Tomato and Green Onion Couscous
Prepare couscous as directed but omit raisins and add 1 green onion, sliced, and 5 dried tomato halves, chopped, to water.

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