Rice

Rice was one of the earliest foods man learned to cultivate. The natural accompaniment to baked chicken has been grown since at least 5000 B.C. , and archaeologists working in China have uncovered sealed pots containing rice more than 8,000 years old (which probably tasted like the rice served at my college cafeteria).

Uncle Ben probably never told you that there are more than 7,000 varieties of rice. He also probably failed to mention that in addition to Louisiana, one of the largest rice producing states is … Arkansas! Texas , Minnesota and California round out the list.

Know Your Rice
–Milled white rice is common rice from which all the hull and bran have been removed. It has little nutritional value. Converted rice is rice that has been steamed before hulling. Some vitamins and minerals are driven to the center of the rice, making it better than milled white rice but it still isn’t hitting on much nutritionally. Next comes instant or quick rice, which is common white rice, precooked then dehydrated.

–Brown rice is one of my favorites. Only the outer hull has been removed from brown rice. Everything else, including the bran, is intact. The vitamins and minerals are retained. It has a chewy, nut-like character. It also takes 45 minutes to cook, making it not as convenient for harried parents trying to put supper on the table fast.

–Wild rice is really an aquatic grass, which is not cultivated. It ‘s similar to wheat in its nutrition but contributes a bit more riboflavin (vitamin B-2). Wild rice is expensive, for obvious reasons, but it tastes great and has tons of nutrients. To economize, combine it with brown rice or another cooked grain.
–Long-, medium- and short-grain rice refer only to the length of the grain and are not types of rice. The longer the grain, the less gluten it contains, so long-grain rice remains separate better than short grain. It is preferred for most dishes. Short grains are best for ring molds or loaves, as the grains stick together voluntarily.

Cooking Tips:

  • Use only the amount of water that will be absorbed. Rice absorbs three to four times its own bulk in liquid. When browned in the skillet, it absorbs somewhat less.
  • Avoid washing rice. Valuable nutrients are lost.
  • If skillet cooking, do not overbrown rice grains. Use only small amount of dry heat.
  • Always cook rice in a covered pan.
  • To test for doneness, pinch a grain of cooked rice between your thumbnail and index finger. It should not have a hard core.
  • If the rice is done a few minutes early, lay a slice of fresh bread on top. The bread will absorb moisture and keep the rice from sticking together so badly.
  • Though cooking more rice than you will consume in one meal is not recommended, cooked rice can be frozen, thawed and reheated. To reheat rice, add a small amount of liquid and warm it in a covered pot.
  • Rice should be stored in a cool, dry place (notice how no one ever tells you to store something in a hot, wet place?) and should last for 8,000 years if properly covered.

RECIPES

Low Country Red Rice

  • 5 slices thick-sliced bacon
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Cook bacon, in skillet, reserve grease. Crumble bacon and set aside. and crumble. Cook onions in bacon fat until tender. Add remaining ingredients and bacon. Cook on low heat for 30-40 minutes, Stirring, and adding water as needed.
(c) 2002 Rick McDaniel

Wild Rice, sausage, and mushroom Stuffing
A great stuffing for turkey , chicken, cornish hensor quail.

  • 1 cup Long Grain and wild rice
  • 1/4 pound pork sausage, mild or hot
  • 1/4 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons sausage drippings
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce

Cook rice as instructed on the package.

Cook sausage until brown. Over medium heat, saute onion in reserved sausage drippings until soft. Add mushrooms and cook until tender. Mix rice, onion mixture, and soy sauce.
© 2002 Rick McDaniel

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