If using fresh corn: After removing the husks and silk, cut the kernels from the cobs using a sharp knife (being careful not to cut into the cob itself). Place the kernels into a bowl and using the knife, scrape up and down the shaft of the cob (over the bowl of corn) extracting the natural "corn cream". If using canned or frozen corn, simply begin with step #2.
To saute the vegetables: Melt the butter (or heat the oil) in a 2 1/2 quart heavy bottomed sauce pot (one that comes with a tight fitting lid). When hot, add the onions and garlic and saute for 3 minutes. Add the green pepper and saute until all the vegetables are softened and very fragrant, about 5 minutes over meduimlow heat.
To toast the rice: If using an "aromatic" rice, rinse it through a sieve (medium mesh) and drain well (see note). Add the rice and cook over medium heat, stirring to coat the rice with the butter and vegetables. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the rice is dry and beginning to turn golden.
To simmer (see note): Add the hot broth and return to a boil. Stir in the corn (whether fresh, drained canned or frozen), and bring back to a boil. Cover the pot and turn the heat to low. Simmer over a low flame for exactly 17 minutes without lifting the lid.
To "settle" and serve: Uncover and add a good amount of fresh pepper and some salt to taste. If desired, stir in 1 tablespoon of additional butter or margarine. Fluff with a fork, and cover the pot. Allow the rice to settle for 3 to 5 minutes to absorb any excess moisture. Serve hot.
Time Management Tips:
1) For extra ease of preparation when assembling, all listed fresh vegetables can be chopped as much as one day ahead and kept refrigerated in separate (well covered) bowls.
2) The stock can be made months ahead and kept frozen in securely covered, heavy freezer containers.
1) Changing the type of stock can give your rice dish a totally different taste and (at times) color. Choose your stock according to your menu and don't be afraid to mix different types of stock,vegetables (and herbs) to create an even more complex flavor. Also, always thaw more stock than you'll need so you can boil it down until the volume is reduced (which will concentrate the flavor).
Some winning combinations of stock: Beef and chicken, chicken and shrimp, veal and beef, veal and chicken or chicken and fish.
Tips From a Teacher:
The most renown type of aromatic rice is Basmati rice which (once grown only in Pakistan and India), is now also grown here in the United States. This type of rice is special (although pricey) not only for it's nutty, butterlike and seductive flavor, but during cooking, the grains swell much more in length than in width, making the feel of the cooked rice more distinctive in the mouth. Basmati rice is also lower in starch which encourages the grains to remain separate.
Jasmine rice, another long grain white rice once grown exclusively in Thailand, is now also grown here and the flavor is similar to Basmati although the texture is somewhat softer when cooked. The other readilyavailable types of aromatic rice are grown here and come in both white, tan and brown varieties. All of the new domestic breeds of rice are an attempt to duplicate the flavor and aroma of Basmati, at a more affordable price. They can be identified as Texmati, Wehani and Popcorn rice (also called Wild Pecan rice). These are all delicious and lend their own unique characteristics to the finished dish.
If using long grain "converted" white rice, rinsing is neither necessary nor recommended. If your stove is electric, you won't have the same control when regulating the heat source. To help rectify this, while your rice mixture is coming to a boil, heat another burner to low. This way, as soon as you cover the pot, you can quickly adjust the temperature by switching the pot to the other burner.