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Oven-Baked Brown Rice with Roast Tomatoes

Oven-Baked Brown Rice with Roast Tomatoes
Roasting in the oven makes this rich, creamy rice dish so easy to prepare that it requires virtually no attention, yet it develops a consistency that recalls a classic risotto. To approximate a risotto even more closely, add a fistful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a hefty dollop of butter just before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 8 firm yet ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and
      coarsely chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups short-grain brown rice
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 4 1/4 cups chicken stock, heated

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Season the tomatoes with salt and spread them out on the prepared baking sheet. Roast until the edges of the skins are browned but not burned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy heatproof saucepan with a lid over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and chopped thyme and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is shiny, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the roast tomatoes, then pour in the hot stock. Stir once, cover and bring to a boil. Transfer to the oven and cook, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed, 40 to 45 minutes. To test for doneness, tilt the baking dish to one side. If the rice moves, continue cooking until all the liquid is absorbed; if the rice clings to the top edges of the baking dish, it is done.

Remove the rice from the oven and fluff with a fork. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl. Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve immediately.
Serves 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Everyday Roasting, by Janeen Sarlin (Time-Life Books, 1998).