Congee is the chicken noodle soup of Asia, the homey one-pot dish used to nurse a common cold, hangovers, or a hungry stomach. Most countries in Asia have their distinct versions of this rice porridge, but China may have the upper hand with regard to variety of ingredients, throwing in anything from lettuce and carrots to preserved salted duck eggs and shredded dried pork. Chicken is a favorite meat to use for congee because you can make the chicken broth base at the same time. It takes about an hour for the rice to break down, giving the finished congee a creamy texture. If you have leftover rice, you can cut the cooking time in half.
- Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- 1 pound skinless bone-in chicken thighs or legs
- 6 to 8 cups water
- 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice, or substitute 3 cups cooked rice
- 1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 2 or
- 3 pieces
- 2 scallions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- Salt and ground white pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- ½ cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped
- . Put the chicken in a large pot with the water and bring to a boil, skimming the foam on top as needed.
- Rinse the rice and add it to the pot. (Don’t worry about the large amount of liquid compared with the small amount of rice; the liquid will reduce and the rice will puff up during the hour of cooking.) Stir in the ginger, scallion whites, and rice wine. Reduce to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the pot and allow it to cool while you continue to cook the congee at a low simmer. When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred the meat and return it to the pot, discarding the bones. Continue to cook until the congee reaches the consistency of loose oatmeal, 20 to 30 minutes more, stirring occasionally so that the rice doesn’t get stuck to the bottom of the pot. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the sesame oil on top. Transfer to individual bowls, top with the scallion greens and peanuts, and serve.