Congee (in Asian cooking) is a broth or porridge made from rice. In China, it is traditionally a breakfast dish, a plain white rice congee, most often served with side dishes, sometimes a fried egg. My version, which was inspired by the delicious congee served daily at Bread and Circus Wholefood Canteen in Alexandria, NSW, incorporates, home-made organic chicken stock, slow cooked organic chicken and organic brown rice. Creating a deliciously wholesome, easy to digest, comfort food - best eaten anytime of the day or night!
what you need
2 Maryland pieces chicken (leg with thigh attached - preferably skin on)
2 litres chicken stock
2 -3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/4 cup brown rice (rinsed)
2 green shallots, left whole
1 tbsp peeled and shredded fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
to serve per bowl:
green shallot finely shredded
peeled and shredded fresh ginger
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
drizzle of soy/Tamari (wheat-free soy)
pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
what you do
1. Place the chicken pieces into a large pot (6 litre) and add one litre of cold water, cover with a lid and bring to a simmer, then reduce to low heat and cook for 1 hour. Use a ladle to remove any scum that has risen to the surface, discard. It is important you keep the lid on during this initial hour of cooking time so as the liquid does not evaporate.
2. Add the 2 litres of chicken stock, the carrot pieces, brown rice, ginger, green shallots, salt and pepper, give a gentle stir to loosen the rice, then simmer on a low-medium heat, covered with a lid for a further 1½ hours. Stir occasionally to ensure it is not sticking to the base of the pot and burning.
3. For the final 1-1½ hours of cooking time, place the pot on a simmer mat on a very low heat, remove the lid, remove the whole shallots and discard. At this point taste to check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if required, then simmer for 1-1½ hours, again stirring occasionally. The congee will reduce and thicken to a creamy, silky consistency, a bit like a risotto. At this stage I use a pair of tongs to remove the bones and discard them.
4. To serve, ladle the congee into serving bowls, sprinkle a generous amount of ginger and shallot onto each, finish with a drizzle of oil, a drizzle of soy/Tamari and a scattering of chilli flakes as desired.
© Jane Grover