Sick of mashed potatoes, and bored with plain rice, I decided to ask Mr. Bittman for advice. The purple rice (not its official cookbook name) from How To Cook Everything was a delicious hit, so it was worth going back to his rice section and looking at my options.
I selected the clearly and austerely named "Rice with onions". No mistaking what you're getting in a recipe like that! I halved it because it makes a ton of rice, but I'm giving you the full recipe here in case you're feeding a horde.
Rice With Onions
3 to 4 cups thinly-sliced onions
4 tablespoons butter (or olive oil - but I used butter)
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 cups warm chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
You put the onions in the pot you'll be making the rice in, and cook them, covered (don't add butter or oil yet) until they're dried out a little but not brown. It takes about 10 minutes. Add the butter and thyme, toss the onions to coat in the melted butter, then add the rice and toss to coat it with the butter too. Add salt and pepper. Stir in the broth and let cook for 30-45 minutes, covered, stirring every now and then, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft.
This was so good that I'm not sure I'll ever be able to make boring white rice again. Incredibly creamy, with a little sweetness from the onions, and a lot of flavor from the thyme. I think I forgot to half the thyme, actually, so you could increase the amount and it won't hurt you.