People in Louisiana eat a lot of rice.
Down here rice is paired with red beans, white beans, speckled butter beans, okra and tomatoes, lima beans, and black eyed peas.  A scoop of rice is usually placed in the bottom of the gumbo bowl, and it is the base for serving etouffees and creoles.  Rice is the main ingredient in jambalaya, dirty rice and dozens of casseroles.  It’s used as a filler in stuffed peppers, a binder in salisbury steak, and almost every kind of stewed/smothered meat will have rice and gravy on the side. 
My husband was born and raised here, so I started including some kind of rice in our meals several times a week.   My challenge was learning how to consistently make a good pot of the stuff.   It was usually gummy when I cooked it on the stovetop.  So I started soaking and rinsing and steaming it.  That worked… sometimes.  The only way I could consistently make good pot of rice was to use the boil in the bag stuff.
Then I found Alton Brown’s brown rice method.  The rice is baked in the oven and it works every time I appreciate Alton Brown’s recipes and cookbooks because he goes to the science behind cooking – explaining why certain methods produce certain results.  Fascinating stuff.
Note: Somewhere along the way, our household switched from white rice to brown rice.  We changed mainly because brown rice fits my “closer to the way God put it here” guideline for food choices.  Brown rice is less processed and thus more fiber and nutrient rich.  Plus it has a nutty flavor and more substantial texture that we’ve come to love. 

If you are not in the brown rice camp, here’s some info to consider:

Brown rice is a healthier choice
·         Recently, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted a study that confirms brown rice as the hands-down healthier choice for your dinner grain.  http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/brown-rice/
·         The process that produces brown rice removes only the outermost layer, the hull, of the rice kernel and is the least damaging to its nutritional value. The complete milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. Fully milled and polished white rice is required to be “enriched” with vitamins B1, B3 and iron.  http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=128
·         According to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, replacing white rice in your diet with brown rice may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20100614/brown-rice-vs-white-rice-which-is-better
Here’s the baked brown rice recipe.  I use a bit less salt and butter and it still comes out perfect.  You can also substitute broth for the water and salt and/or add herbs.  It’s good every time.  Enjoy!

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