Most instructions for cooking rice call for using a saucepan, but you can just as easily use a skillet, ideal for ensuring evenly cooked rice and adding additional ingredients. The shallower depth of a skillet allows more of the rice to cook at an even pace and makes it easier to tell if the rice is starting to burn on the bottom. In addition, using a skillet allows you to saute additional ingredients such as vegetables beforehand for an easy and tasty skillet dinner.
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Pour the rice into a bowl and wash in a few changes of water, if you're using imported rice. Swish the rice around with your hands in each change of water before draining, and repeat as needed until the water runs somewhat clear. It doesn't have to be perfectly clear, however.
Combine rice and water or chicken stock in a large, deep skillet, using 1 part rice to 2 parts liquid. You can add a dash of salt and a pat of butter, if you would like.
Bring the water or chicken stock to a boil. Stir briefly, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and close the lid. Cook the rice in the skillet with the lid on for about 15 minutes. Brown rice will take about 40 to 45 minutes. The water should be completely absorbed when rice is ready. Remove from the heat and fluff the rice with a fork before serving.
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It is generally recommended to wash any rice that has been imported, while American-grown rice does not need to be washed because of how it is processed.
Saute onions, garlic, frozen diced vegetables and chicken or beef chunks in the skillet before adding the water and rice to make a skillet meal. You may need to adjust the cooking time and add additional water as needed, depending on what you add.
Toast rice in the skillet with a little butter or olive oil over medium heat before adding water for extra flavor. Toast for a just a few minutes, stirring the rice in the pan constantly until the rice smell is more pronounced and slightly nutty and the rice has a pearly look to it. If you rinsed your rice, make sure it's drained well before toasting in the skillet.
Don't wander too far from your skillet of rice as it is cooking -- rice can quickly burn if you're not paying close attention.
- Menu Rice: All About Rice -- FAQ's
- The Washington Post: Should You Wash Rice?
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- Delia Online: How to Cook Perfect Rice
- Our Best Bites: All About White Rice (Plus How to Cook It 3 Ways!)
- Pillsbury: Chicken and Rice Skillet Dinner
- Fabulous Foods: How to Pan-Toast Rice
- Mark Bittman: How to Cook Everything: The Basics: Chicken and Rice