February 24, 2012

chinese chicken porridge

chinese chicken porridge

Growing up my mom would always make what she called "cantonese porridge" (otherwise known as congee, jook, or 廣東稀飯) when I was sick. It became my equivalent of chicken noodle soup, so whenever I'm sick I try to drag myself out of bed to make a big pot of it.

Before culinary school this involved buying a rotisserie chicken, cutting it up and simmering it in a pot of water with rice thrown in. My culinary school experience has upgraded that process a bit, and recently I made some of the best porridge I've ever tasted, so I wanted to share.

whole roasted chicken (half the meat cut off for other dishes)
scallions (white and green parts separated)
shittake mushroom stems
ginger, sliced
garlic cloves
cooked rice (~4 cups)
half a napa cabbage, diced
salt & pepper

First I heated about a tablespoon of oil in a stockpot, and used it to sautee the aromatics (scallion stems, mushroom stems, ginger slices, and garlic cloves). I just used what I happened to have lying around - nothing is really essential but I do to prefer to have ginger since the Chinese claim it drives away colds.

After about a minute of sauteeing, I fill the stockpot about 2/3 of the way, enough to submerge the chicken carcass. I put the lid on and brought the mixture to a boil, then lowered the heat down to a simmer.

Then after about 30-45 minutes (the vegetables can't simmer beyond that because they'll disintegrate), I scoop the chicken carcass and the aromatics out (except the ginger), then dump the rice and cabbage in. I also pick the meat off of the carcass and return the meat bits to the pot. Then I let the mixture simmer more.

After another 30 minutes the rice should be sufficiently mushy to be considered porridge. Depending on what consistency you like your porridge, you may have to add more water and/or let it simmer more.

At this point I turn off the heat and mix in chopped scallion (the green parts). Serve yourself a bowl and eat it while it's hot!

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