Use long-grain Carolina or converted rice for this dish.
In a large kettle, bring the water to a boil and add the rice while slowly stirring with a fork. Add the bay leaves and 1 teaspoon of the thyme or rosemary. Boil, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Rinse under cold running water and drain in a colander. Transfer to a saucepan, add the olive oil, and fluff the rice with two forks. Sprinkle with the remaining thyme and pepper.
Reheat, stirring lightly with the two forks a few times, for 5 minutes just before serving. (Do not remove the bay leaves.)
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