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ALL THE RICE!

Have you ever been in a position where you needed to cook a lot of rice?  A lot of rice.  Like 100 servings of rice.  And you don’t have a big enough rice cooker(s) for such a job.  Well, I have been in such a predicament before.

There was once a time when I needed to make A LOT of chicken and rice casserole to feed a lot of people and I neglected to borrow any high capacity rice cookers.  Also, my experiment from earlier in the week told me that to dump everything in a pan raw and shove it in the oven would take prohibitively long to cook.  So I needed to cook a lot of rice.  Enter a 4″ full sized steam table pan, which I did remember to borrow, and the oven.

Did you know you can cook rice in the oven?  It’s a really good way to cook a lot of rice.  Normal, family-sized rice cookers will only feed…a family.  And not an overly large one, either.  An industrial rice cooker is pretty expensive and you don’t often need that much rice.  It’s just a waste of space and energy.  Oh, and you can’t plug two of them into the same circuit in your house because I think each one pulls about 12A.  A typical household circuit breaker is 15A.  You’ll definitely trip the breaker.

So, here’s how I ended up cooking 16 cups of rice.  I would give you the weight, except my notes are at home and I am not and I know I cooked about 16 cups.  Btw, these are normal cups.  Not the silly 0.75 cup that rice cookers seem to think is a full cup.


Oven-cooked Brown Rice

Materials:

  • 16 c brown rice
  • 26.67 c water
  • 4″ full sized steam table tray
  • foil
  • stove top
  • oven that fits full sized trays

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 deg F.
  2. Put the rice and water into the pan.
  3. Heat the pan over the range to boiling.  You’ll probably have to use two burners.  You also may want to stir from time to time, but it’s not strictly necessary.
  4. Remove the pan from heat.
  5. Cover the pan tightly with foil.
  6. Bake for an hour, or until done.
  7. Let the rice set for 10 minutes before uncovering and fluffing, if you’re into that fluffing business.

Notes:

  • This is for BROWN rice and not WHITE rice.  If you’re cooking white rice, you can also do it in the oven, but the water ratio will be different. Also, I wouldn’t recommend this method for short grain white rice, because it mushes up too easily and it doesn’t fluff.
  • You can adjust the rice to water ratio so you get the texture you like.  Since this was going into a casserole, I wanted the rice to be a bit harder.  Also, I don’t like it when brown rice is cooked to mush anyway.  The rice to water ratio I used was 1:5/3 or if you don’t like that 3/2:5/2 (hahahah!).  Ok fine, here’s a ratio with whole numbers. 3:5
  • The pan will be HEAVY.  When filled, the water level will be right at the top of the pan.  So be careful when moving it from the stove to the oven.

    It looks like this.

  • Don’t want to measure out 26+ cups of water?  Weighing it is a good alternative.  Just stick a pot over the scale, tare it, and start dumping water in.  Just don’t overload the scale or else you’ll have to start ladling water back out of the pot so the scale can read again.  You might have to do it a few times with a few different pots to get enough water.  Why do you have a pot big enough to boil 26+ cups of water anyway?
  • Adding already boiling water, or at least really hot water to the rice cuts down on how long you have to wait for the big pan to start boiling.
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