It's amazing to me how many people have trouble with getting long-cooking rice to come out right. Since rice is a very non-fat (depending on how you fix it), high-carbohydrate food source, it is an excellent staple and can be just the cure if you're bored with pasta. The trick to getting your long-cooking rice to come our right is very simple: DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT STIRRING IT! I should repeat that but I won't. Let me give you the recipe first and then I will tell you how to make great rice in the oven.
Long Cooking Rice
1 CUP LONG GRAIN RICE (THE CHEAP STUFF THAT COMES IN A BAG)
2 CUPS WATER
SALT TO TASTE (NO MORE THAN A TEASPOON)
1 TBS MARGARINE OR BUTTER IF YOU REALLY, REALLY THINK YOU NEED IT.
Place all ingredients in a sauce pan, cover, bring to a boil. When it reaches a boil, turn heat down to Medium-Low (a notch or two below the middle, not all the way to low or simmer), leave covered and simmer for 20-25 minutes, DON'T STIR IT. Resist the temptation to open the lid for at least 15 minutes, DON'T STIR IT. Test doneness by pressing the back of a large spoon into the surface of the rice, DON'T STIR IT. If you don't strike water, it's probably done, DON'T STIR IT. Actually, if it is done, you may stir it before serving.
Properly cooked rice will leave a layer stuck to the bottom of the pan. Don't worry about that, soak the pan and it will wash right out.
This is not the only way to prepare long-cooking rice. Those rice steamer appliances you see in the stores really do work well when the directions are followed. You could also make it in the oven as follows:
Oven Steamed Rice
2 CUPS LONG GRAIN RICE
2 1/2 CUPS WATER OR STOCK OR A MIX OF THE TWO.
YOU CAN ALSO ADD SALT, BUTTER OR MARGARINE, CAJUN TRINITY, OR WHATEVER OTHER SEASONING YOU WANT.
Place ingredients in a loaf pan or casserole that is big enough to hold them. Seal tightly with foil, bake in a 350-degree oven for one hour and fifteen minutes.
Variation on the theme: Black Beans and Rice
To the recipe for Oven Steamed rice, add a can (about 16 oz.) of Black Beans (Frijoles Negros), as follows. Drain the beans and reserve the liquid. Combine the bean juice, stock, and water to make 2 1/2 cups of liquid. Combine the beans and uncooked rice in a casserole. Add the liquid. Bake as for Oven Steamed Rice.
The daring among you may take this recipe and do lots of things with it.
Next time around I am considering divulging techniques and recipes for homemade pizza that's better than anything else in town.