The benefit of using the oven to cook this rice is that it frees up your stove to make other things, and you don’t need to watch it closely.
Source: Heavily modified from “Basic Cooked Rice” from “Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen” by Paul Prudhomme
Cajun Basic Rice
- 2 cups uncooked rice, preferably converted
- 2-1/2 cups water
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, unmelted
- 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- pinch each of white pepper, cayenne pepper, and black pepper
Preheat oven at 350 F.
Converted rice doesn’t need to be washed; wash the rice if using any other type of rice.
Choose a pan which is not too wide (if the pan is very wide, then the rice layer will be very thin (0.75 inches or less) and the rice will become too crispy and dry). A 5x9x2-1/2 inch loaf pan is ideal but I’ve had success with a 12x8x2-1/2 inch pyrex glass baking pan pan and a 3-1/2 quart enameled dutch oven with a lid.
Add all ingredients to the pan. Cover with a tight fitting lid or cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until rice is tender. Add some water and bake for a little longer if the rice is too firm. The edges may get brown and crispy; this is fine. Stir rice to fluff it up and separate the grains.
If kept covered, the rice will stay hot for about 45 minutes , and warm for up to 2 hours.
Variation: Use stock instead of water. Preferably use a stock which complements the dish you will be serving it with (chicken stock for a chicken dish, seafood stock for a seafood dish, etc). Stock will make a more flavorful rice; water makes a neutral flavored rice which is appropriate for flavorful sauces and gumbos.
Variation: Add 1-1/2 Tbsp of very finely chopped onions, 1-1/2 Tbsp of very finely chopped celery, and 1-1/2 Tbsp of very finely chopped green bell peppers (or a sub-combination of these vegetables) to the rice before cooking. Paul Prudhomme suggests omitting the green bell pepper if you are making the rice ahead of time, since it sours quickly.
Leftovers can be reheated by stir frying in some butter (you can add a few Tbsp of water too if it seems dry) or oil; you should do this even if you are topping it with gumbo, since the rice gets dry after being in the refrigerator. You can also re-bake leftovers (add some water if it seems dry or if the rice grains are too firm).