I've solved the mystery. It really had been Brown Rice's fault all along. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume it's the whole "complete grain" thing, with the germ and bran being intact which prevents brown rice from cooperating with my evil plans to saute and cook it with other stuff. If Basmati is good enough for traditional Indian cooking, it's good enough for me!
I knew before I even got home that I was going to make Vegetable Biryani from La Dolce Vegan for dinner. How could I go wrong? It's fast, it's easy, it has relatively few ingredients to fuss with and the spice mixture comes together in less than a minute. If that's not enough, it's delightfully flavorful, especially since I substituted Trader Joe's broth for the recipe-prescribed water.
I'll admit, I was still a bit skeptical that everything else in the pot would let the rice cook, especially in the short 15-20 minute time-frame provided, but to my surprise and joy, it most certainly did. So, in about a half hour, I went from gather ingredients to gathering my husband for dinnertime.
This is a great biryani recipe, especially since it's so easy, but I'll admit, it does make me crave the more labor-and-time-intensive recipe in my Moosewood cookbook, so I might have to pull that out for a weekend meal some time.
stop by and check it out.
If not, you won't hurt my feelings :)