Brown Rice with Shiitake Mushrooms

Brown rice, which is the entire unpolished grain containing the germ and outer layer of bran (hence the tan coloring), is much prized for its nutty flavor and chewy texture through much of the South, and is even used to make elaborate perloos and bogs in and around Charleston and Savannah. Because of the bran, however, brown rice needs more liquid and longer cooking than regular white long-grain (or Carolina) rice. Today, in better restaurants, you find more and more brown rice prepared with all sorts of earthy wild mushrooms, as in this recipe. To add even more flavor and textural contrast to the dish, some cooks are even adding ingredients such as toasted pine nuts or pecans. The rice should be fluffy but still quite moist. And be warned: once you’re hooked on brown rice, the white can seem pretty bland.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Two 10½-ounce cans beef broth
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

In a large saucepan, combine the onion, celery, butter, and beef broth and bring to a boil. Gradually add the rice, stirring, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the mushrooms and salt and pepper, stir, cover, and simmer till all the liquid is absorbed by the rice, about 20 minutes longer. (The rice should be slightly moist but fluffy.) Serve hot.