Coast Cooking

Try cooking your rice this way to spice up your gumbo

By JULIAN BRUNT

Special to the Sun Herald

A few extra steps make you rice much tastier and that can enhance your gumbo.
A few extra steps make you rice much tastier and that can enhance your gumbo.

Mississippi Blues Rice Farm is a traditional family farm several generations old, but when David Carver Jr. took over from his father, he decided to make some changes.

The first was to stop selling his rice to the big silos, but instead he sells exclusively to chefs, farmers markets and individuals. Why? You might ask.

Perhaps the most important reason is that the big silos combine all the different varieties of rice they buy, thus what you buy in the store is called long grain rice, not a specific variety. Carver is proud of the rice he sells, although he won’t tell you what the variety is. That’s his secret.

So this week, I will blog about rice, OK?

One of the most common ways rice is served in this part of the world is with gumbo. Nope, I am not giving out my gumbo recipe, but I will give you a few hints of cooking rice. Take the time to use these extra steps, and you will never go back to making rice the conventional way.

Melt a tablespoon or two of butter in a deep sauce pan. When it has melted, add a cup of rice. Sauté it briefly until the rice is coated and almost starting to brown. Add two cups of homemade chicken stock, a pinch of red pepper flakes and cover. Bring to a slow simmer for 20 minutes. Do not lift the lid to peer until the rice is done. If you want a little more flavor in your rice, try sautéing garlic in the butter first, or add 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro or other herb to the chicken stock.

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