COMFORTING CHICKEN & RICE PORRIDGE INSPIRED BY RACHEL KHOO
On her episode of Desert Island Dishes Rachel Khoo talked of her mum's chicken porridge or congee and how she didn't appreciate it when she was younger and would complain when her mum turned that week's Sunday roast into a delicious chicken porridge the next day. But that it's now come to be a dish that is completely evocative of her childhood and her mum's cooking.
Rachel learnt from her mother the importance of using leftovers and letting nothing go to waste and whilst that isn't particularly interesting or inspiring to a child, these are such amazing lessons to go through life with. Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know that I love using up leftover and using up what I have in the fridge or cupboards to make something delicious. Cooking in this way is so much fun as it allows you to be really creative. Perhaps you pick up one lovely new ingredient from the shops but safe in the knowledge you can use what you have to transform it into to a meal.
Chicken and rice porridge is a really good example of this kind of cooking. I bought the chicken thighs but then was able to pull together the rest of the dish based on what I already had lurking around. With this kind of cooking you do have to be a bit flexible and not get stressed if you don't have the exact ingredients you need, but this just comes with practice.
This congee is comforting, unctuous and delicious. It's exactly what I crave when I'm feeling run down, ill or just in need of an edible hug. I love it topped with crispy chicken skin, a poached egg, shredded chicken and lots of chopped coriander and spring onions. But you can play around with it. You can also play around with the amount of liquid you use, I sometimes like it really soupy and slurpy and other times I like it a little thicker and more porridge like, but the beauty is you can just add liquid as you go until it's exactly as you like it.
Serves 2 plus some leftovers
You will need white rice, but you can choose from short grain, long grain, basmati or jasmine.
1 cup rice
1 1/2 litres of chicken stock (fresh or you can use a stock cube or two) - this is about 6-7 cups
4 of spring onions, sliced
1/2 inch ginger, grated
1/2 red chilli, finely sliced
3 chicken thighs, bone in, skin removed
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
In a large heavy bottomed pan such as this one, heat the olive oil and fry the spring onions, chilli and ginger for a minute or so. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir well so that it's coated in the mixture. Then add the chicken thighs and pour in the stock.
Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and put the lid on.
Cook for 45 minutes - 1 hour. Check it every 10 minutes or so to give it a stir just so that it doesn't stick to the pan. Add more stock or boiling water as necessary.
Once cooked and tasting gorgeous, remove the chicken, discard the bones and shred the meat.
Scoop the rice porridge into bowls and top with the chicken and any toppings you fancy.
You can also make it ahead. Leave to cool completely before storing in the fridge. When you want to eat it, reheat in the pan with a little more stock and encourage it back to life.
Poached eggs, fried eggs, boiled eggs
sliced spring onion,
Sliced red chilli
crispy pancetta or fried onions
seaweed or crispy kale