I can’t in good conscience share these bean recipes without giving you a good recipe for white rice. Now when I say white rice, I am not talking about minute rice. Yes, we all have fond memories of those jagged, quick-cooking flakes of starch Kraft calls rice. One of my favorite dishes my mom makes is baked chicken with rice mixed into all the chicken drippings. It has to be made with minute rice – it just wouldn’t be the same. However, when it comes to beans and rice, there is no substituting the real thing. Many people shy from long grain rice because it takes up to 30 minutes of cooking on the stove top. Modern supermarkets make quick work of this with heat-and-serve pouches and individual serving cups, which, honestly, I’ve used many times – they are totally great in a pinch. But, the starving artist raises his eyebrow at the ridiculous markup of these conveniences. Usually a packet of one of those Uncle Ben’s rice pouches is over two dollars and you barely get two servings. Are you kidding? For rice? Trader Joe’s has their own brand for more reasonable prices, but let’s be honest, rice cooked in a pouch usually tastes like rice cooked in a pouch.
Luckily, I have come across a recipe that makes perfect white rice with minimal cooking time. Alton Brown sautes his rice in butter before adding in boiling water, which not only expedites the cooking process, but it helps to ensure fluffy, separate grains. Yes, it is more effort than the pouch, but for the cost of that one Uncle Ben’s pouch you can purchase an entire bag of uncooked long grain white rice. And besides, who wants pouch-flavored rice? A starving artist no-brainer.