I took an international crops class in college that I added to my schedule to fill out a requirement for my major.
Alright, I also added it because it sounded easy.
I was right about the easy part, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Learning about the food in different cultures was amazing, especially as it relates to the crops that grow well in a certain region (at least it was interesting to the plant genetics nerd that I am.) For one, I didn't know there were different kinds of rice. Honestly, I had no idea. Short grain rice? Wow. Brown rice? Whoa. Short brown rice? I've got to sit down for this one.
I've never looked at rice the same way again after that class. I bought some short grain rice shortly afterward and loved it. In fact, I became a little obsessed and ate it at almost every meal. Or even FOR the meal. Someone told me that in parts of the world they add a little sugar and cinnamon and milk and eat it like a porridge for breakfast. Forgive me if I don't remember what part of the world it was where they do this. I was busy sprinting home to give it a try.
It turns out, rice makes a great breakfast. If you think about it, it's a grain like oatmeal, so why can't you have it for breakfast, too? You can. And I did, for a long time, but I got tired of cooking it every morning and cereal won me over again.
Enter my electric pressure cooker. A month or so ago I realized I could just throw rice, water and sugar in my pressure cooker and it would cook my breakfast for me. It takes lot of the work and time out of making rice, especially brown rice. I like to cook my sweet brown rice beyond the point of done-ness to where it is a risotto-like consistency with lots of creaminess and just a little bit of chew from the grains. Throw in some sweetener and some dried fruit and it's really a delicious breakfast, and a nice change from oatmeal or cereal.
I'm sharing a couple different ways that I like to top my brown rice. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can get the same taste, (but maybe not the same consistency unless you are willing to cook the rice for a very long time), by following the cooking instructions on the back of the bag. I find that either short grain brown rice or sweet brown rice work equally well for breakfast risotto. If you are more of a white rice fan, see pressure cooking instructions here.
Breakfast Brown Rice Risotto
1/2 T butter
1 cup short grain brown rice (or arborio rice if you prefer white rice.)
2 cups water
3 T brown sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
1/8 tsp salt
1-2 T heavy whipping cream
1. Melt butter in pressure cooker over medium heat (or with "brown" setting on electric pressure cookers) and add rice. Stir and cook for a few minutes to coat grains with butter and toast the rice slightly. Add water and salt and cover. Bring to high pressure, then reduce heat enough to maintain pressure and cook 30-40 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for five minutes, and then quick release remaining pressure. Rice is done when most of the water is absorbed and the rice has a creamy texture. In my electric pressure cooker this takes about 38 minutes, but it is a good idea to check at 30 minutes the first time through to see how quickly the rice cooks in your own pressure cooker.
2. Spoon rice into a medium bowl, stir in whipping cream and additional sugar or salt to taste. Top with your choice of dried fruits or nuts, if desired. (Suggestions below.)
Cherry Almond Breakfast Risotto:
Stir in a scant 1/8 tsp almond extract, 1/4 cup chopped dried cherries and 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds.
Apple Pecan Breakfast Risotto:
Stir in 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 cup chopped apple and 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans.