Friday, April 24, 2009

Chicken Jook (aka Congee)

Like any good soup this recipe takes time, but it is not at all labor intensive. The healing power of homemade Chinese-style chicken stock is worth the time. Jook can also be made with turkey, and is eaten at any time of day—often for breakfast.

1 average sized rotisserie chicken (3 to 4 pounds)
2 quarts (8 cups) water
1 bunch green onions
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few whole sprigs
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a knife
2-inch piece fresh ginger root
¾ cup long grain rice
1 - 8 oz. can whole peeled water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, and quartered
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch white pepper
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


1. Peel and discard the skin from the rotisserie chicken. Remove the meat from the bones and using only your very clean hands, tear into bite sized pieces. Place in a storage container and refrigerate immediately.

2. Place the chicken carcass and any stray chicken scraps or juices into a medium (4 quart) soup pot. Cover with 8 cups water. Slice half of the ginger root into discs and add to the pot along with the smashed garlic cloves, and 3 to 5 sprigs fresh cilantro. Trim the white and light green ends from the green onions and add to the pot, reserving the green parts for later. Bring to a very low simmer, cover and cook for 2 to 3 hours.

3. Pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids. Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear. Return stock to the pot and add the rice*. Cook over low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

4. Add 2 to 3 cups of the chicken pieces, 1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger, water chestnuts, salt, white pepper, and sesame oil. Continue to simmer over low heat for 30 more minutes. The rice should be starting to fall apart at this point. Be sure to stir frequently and keep over low heat so the porridge doesn't burn on the bottom.

5. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot topped with hearty pinches of chopped cilantro and green onion.

*Many Jook recipes call for 2 parts long-grain white rice and 1 part short-grain sticky rice (or sushi rice). If you have some short grain rice on hand, go ahead and substitute ¼ cup for long-grain. Otherwise, it’s fine to use only long-grain.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Woohoo, this is going to be fun! I can smell you from here! I miss my days in the kitchen with you...or long chats about your days in the kitchen without me ;) xoxo-Miss & Love

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