Once I learned a few things about rice I have completely eliminated white rice from my diet, my pantry, my home. It is simply empty stuff and you might as well be eating cardboard, there’s nothing in it for you. That being said I still eat rice especially on my journey to being a vegetarian/ pescatarian. Sigh…
Brown rice and black rice are my favorite and lately I’ve been using some organic red rice which takes only 20 minutes to make and has similar properties as brown rice. There are lots of nutrients in there for us, from vitamin B6 to magnesium to fiber and phytonutrients, it is a good thing to have in our diet unless of course you are on a low-carb diet and that’s a different story.
I decided to go for cremini mushrooms as a pairing because they are readily available in the grocery store and make a wonderful marriage with the brown rice, plus they are loaded with nutrition. On top of it all you will find this surprisingly delicious and satisfying, not too shabby for a vegetarian weeknight meal.
Come to think of it I will prepare this for my next barbecue the night before and have one healthy side dish ready and out-of-the-way.
- 1 organic small yellow onion -diced
- 1 organic carrot – diced
- 1 lb organic cremini mushrooms -sliced
- 1 organic bell pepper -diced
- 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
- 2 c organic brown rice -short grain
- 3 1/2 c vegetable stock or water
- 1/2 tsp sea salt + more to taste
- 1 dry bay leaf
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 1/4 c italian flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
In a large enameled cast iron pot heat up 2 tbsp of the olive oil and sweat the onion with a pinch of sea salt until translucent. Add the carrot and mushrooms and toss to coat. Sautee them together until all water has evaporated and the mushrooms start to caramelize.
Push the mushrooms to the sides of the pan to make space in the middle to add the remaining olive oil and the rice. Toss to gently coat and toast for a few minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaf, sea salt and paprika and stir everything together. You will sense a pleasant nutty scent from the toasting of the rice and spices together.
Add the bell peppers and water or stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Taste the liquid for seasoning and add more salt to your taste if desired. Cover with a tight lid, turn the flame down to low and allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Turn off the flame and allow the rice to sit untouched for another 15 minutes. It will continue to cook in the steam and create a perfect al dente texture for the rice. Fluff with a fork and serve sprinkled with the fresh parsley.
If you must have your rice super soft then let it cook an additional 5 minutes, personally I don’t like it mushy so I stick to 45 minutes cooking time.