Cooking for a large crowd may seem overwhelming, but if you do it in the oven as opposed to your stove top, it is a simple process. Your cooking time will vary depending on what type of rice you use. Typically, brown rice takes twice as long as white rice to cook, but it is also more nutritious. A good compromise is to use converted rice, which is parboiled. This is a process where brown rice is steamed before being husked, causing the grains to absorb the husk nutrients. It still takes more time to cook converted rice, but not quite as long as brown rice.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rinse converted rice with lukewarm water in a wire strainer to remove dust and impurities before cooking it. If you don’t have a large enough strainer for 3 1/2 lbs. of rice, do it in batches, placing the rinsed rice in a bowl until you are done.
Place rinsed rice in a 12-by-20-inch glass, ceramic or stainless-steel counter pan. Your counter pan should be at least 2 inches deep so that the rice does not overflow when it is cooked.
Boil 4 qt. of water in a large pot and add 2 tbsp. of sea salt. Make sure the salt dissolves fully.
Add 2 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil to your water and pour the mixture over your converted rice slowly so that the rice remains even throughout the pan.
Cover your pan with aluminum foil. Tighten the foil along the edges of the pan to prevent the water from evaporating too quickly during the cooking process.
Open your oven once it has reached 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place your pan in the center. Set your oven timer to 60 minutes.
Remove the pan from oven after an hour and place it on top of your stove to allow it to cool for five to 10 minutes.
Remove the aluminum foil and use a fork to fluff your rice before serving it. This recipe yields rice for approximately 50 people.