Heat 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium. Add 1 medium onion, finely chopped, 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped, and 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is softened, 5–7 minutes. Add 1 bay leaf and 3 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed; cook, stirring, until grains are coated in oil, about 30 seconds.
Pour in 4½ cups low-sodium chicken broth and stir once. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, 15–20 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover, and let sit to allow excess moisture to evaporate, 5–10 minutes.
Fluff rice with a fork; pluck out and discard bay leaf. Transfer to a shallow bowl to serve.