Gina: In the South, rice is an essential partner for roast pork or chicken, or anything with a tomatoey sauce or gravy, but even down here, folks sometimes find themselves a little intimidated by the process of making it. If you are the least bit nervous about cooking rice, look no further than our recipe. It delivers foolproof results every time, cooking up fragrant, fluffy rice infused with aromatics (shallots, garlic, and a few fresh herbs).
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1½ cups long-grain white rice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2½ cups Chicken Stock or water, warmed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot, and saute until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice, and stir until the rice is glossy and coated with the butter. Season the rice with the salt and some pepper, and then add the warmed stock, the sprigs of thyme, bay leaves, and smashed garlic clove. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 to 17 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
Remove the pan from the heat, and keep it covered for another 5 minutes. Remove the lid, take out the thyme, bay leaves, and garlic, and fluff the rice with a fork, adding the chopped parsley at the same time.