Congee – Chicken Porridge

As the new year approached, we started searching for chicken porridge recipes. They were all similarly easy to put together, but they also all called for long grain white rice. We like white rice but we also wanted our version to be more healthy, so we substituted the white rice for brown basmati rice. The brown rice gave it more fiber and the basmati lent a nutty taste to the porridge. We also like mixing grains whenever we get the opportunity. Our morning oatmeal will sometimes have polenta, quinoa, or whatever small amount of grain or seed we have on hand. So with the basmati rice we included steel cut oats, a traditional morning staple and just regular wheat.

This dish also cooks a lot longer then regular oatmeal or rice, about twice as long. The rice breaks down into a mush like consistency. The result is a savory morning, afternoon, or evening treat. The batch that we made was too much for just the two of us so we froze part of it. We now  look forward to  coming home after a morning run to find a thawed batch of the porridge sitting on the counter from the night before and all that is required is a quick reheating of the porridge, a couple poached eggs, and a few chops of the knife for the condiments to bring this yummy dish back to life.

Congee — Chicken Porridge
(Serves 6-8)

1 whole chicken (organic preferred)
1 small cinnamon stick
few whole allspice
small handful of whole peppercorns
1 star anise
1 inch knob of ginger (peeled and sliced into thick rounds)
3-4 carrots, scrubbed clean and cut into 2-inches
2-3 celery stocks, cut into 2-inches
1 large shallot, cut into large chunks
1 gallon of cold water, or more to cover the bird
1/8-1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cups brown basmati rice, or other long grain rice (not instant)
2  cups steel cut oats (not rolled oats), or other whole grain, or a combination
3-4 chopped green onions
small bunch chopped cilantro
Chinese donut, cut into pieces (optional)
soy sauce
sesame oil
Sriracha and other hot sauce condiments

Put the chicken, vegetables, and spices into a large stock pot and cover with cold water, about a gallon, and add the soy saucePut the stock pot on the stove and over medium heat cover the pot and allow the water to come to a boil. Once the water is boiling turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 1 hour. Turn the heat off and remove the chicken. It will probably be falling off the bones. Strain the stock and discard the vegetables and spices.
Return the stock to a clean pan and add the rice and steel cut oats. Over a medium heat bring the broth, rice, and oats (and grains) to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook slowly stirring occasionally for about 2 – 2 1/2 hours. During the last half hour you’ll want to stir more frequently to avoid scorching the bottom. This can be done the night before, covered and finished the next morning.
In the meantime, when the chicken has rested and cooled, remove the skin and bones from the chicken and shred the meat with your hands. Careful to remove all cartilage and gristle. If you’re eating the congee right away, add half to all of the chicken— depending on the size of the bird and the amount of meat. If you’re cooking the congee the night before, refrigerate the shredded chicken and add to the congee the next morning.
Serve in warmed bowls with chopped green onions, cilantro, Chinese donuts, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and Sriracha or other hot sauce.

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Fusion Bok Choy Stir-Fry

Chinese-Italian Stir Fry

Sometimes our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box is full of items that may have only a day or two of shelf life available. Usually it’s something green and plentiful. Last Tuesday, our CSA box from Capay Farms contained so much bok choy I didn’t know where I was going to store it in the fridge. Some of the leaves were turning yellow and instead of allowing it to rot I decided to use it all in an improvised Chinese-Italian stir-fry. After cooking some brown rice the stir-fry came together in just minutes. Here’s the recipe if you need a quick and easy meal. You can also substitute the cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, or basically any vegetable for the bok choy.

Chinese-Italian Bok Choy Stir Fry

Olive oil

2 Hot Italian Sausages, casings removed

2 pounds, or more, bok choy, cleaned with leaves and stems chopped separately

4-8 pickled cherry peppers, stems and seeds removed, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons, or more, soy sauce

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the sausages break up into small pieces (a potato masher does a great job to break up the sausages). Once the sausage is cooked and slightly brown, add the stems of the bok choy. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Add the leaves, and the cherry peppers and continue to stir for another minute or two. Add the soy sauce and serve with rice or over pasta.


Jason & Steve