Apple Baked Brown Rice

I hope you like apples. And rice, I guess. But this is really about apples.

Apples and rice, huh? Time to get to the core of this meal.

Soft, sweet rice.

I’ve found that brown rice can be a bit more finickey to cook than white. It seems to cook unevenly or stick the the bottom of the pot. So a nod goes to Alton Brown for introducing me to the baking method for cooking brown rice. Baking the rice in the oven allows for a much more even heat distrobution and cooks the rice evenly.

Cooking it in apple juice, that was my touch. I quickly figured out that cooking in 100% juice isn’t a good idea. Oh, it cooks just fine, but the result is almost too sweet. It’s best to use about half juice and half water or stock. That provides a good balance of flavor.

It's not like it doesn't get cold every year at the same time. I'll just have to try to remember this then.

I wish I had thought of this when it was cold. I would totally use this to stuff winter squash!

I’ve made this a few times and honestly have never tried it out with white rice. It’s probably delicious too, but something just spoke to me about combining apple juice with the earthy sweetness already present in brown rice.

Apple Baked Brown Rice
I tend to dilute the apple juice with stock or water otherwise you will end up with a very sweet rice. And that’s fine, I sometimes make it using only apple juice. But for your average meal, I suggest the below method.
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 1/2 cups apple juice (or apple cider, if you want the good stuff)
1 cup vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions
1. Begin by preheating the oven to 375F.
2. Bring the apple cider, stock (or water), butter, and salt to a boil in a small pot.
3. Pour out the rice into an 8 inch square glass baking dish. Add the boiling liquid to the rice. Stir once, then cover tightly with foil and place into the oven.
4. Cook for one hour. Remove from oven and check to see if all the liquid has been absorbed. If it hasn’t, continue cooking for 10 minutes at a time until the liquid has absorbed. (This depends on the brand, the style, and the age of the rice. I’ve had some rice cook in one hour, and others that take nearly an hour and a half. You’ll know it’s done when there is almost no liquid in the pan.) To encourage evaporation of the liquid, lift a corner of the foil. Be careful though as this can dry the rice out a bit.
5. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

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