How to Cook Brown Rice

Many cooks are afraid of rice. Cooking it, not eating it. My test as a chef for every cook applicant was to, “Cook a pan of rice.” Sounds simple but more than half failed the test. I usually would end up hiring them unless they got an additude about their crappy, sticky rice. Part of a chef’s job is to teach.

If I wanted to make a more difficult test I’d ask them to cook a pan a brown rice. If you use your best white rice technique on brown rice you will fail. Brown rice and white rice are different animals. I shutter to remember hippie chicks from the 70’s cooking up large pans of gummy, bland glue. No wonder ‘Health Food’ got a bad name.

Brown rice is health because it is the complete grain, it has the fiberous bran coating and the nutritious germ. The ran will help scrub your guts clean and contribute to a prize winning poop. The germ is the rice seed embryo it contains B1. B2 and vitamin E. The germ contains natural oils so brown rice can go rancid if improperly stored or left on the shelf too long.

This is a brown rice pilaf. The idea is to give the rice maximum flavor while cooking with the minimum labor.

Finely chop in a food processor one medium onion, 1 large or 2 small carrots and 2 ribs of celery. Saute the veggies in the bottom of a pan in 2 T melted butter and 1 T olive oil add two cups of brown rice and cook till the rice is coated with the oils and begins to change color (it will lighten a bit). Add 6 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes then put the rice in a covered casserole or #2 hotel pan covered with foil and cook in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. Viola!

A simple but foolproof method for cooking plain brown rice is to heat a large quantity of salted water (12 cups water for one cup rice). Add the rice to the water and boil uncovered for 1/2 hour. Drain the rice in a collander then return to the pan and cover off heat for 10 minutes. Serve on the plate with a pat of butter, a little salt and pepper.

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