Thursday, September 20, 2007

The end of summer means more soup.

Not really soup per se, more of a gruel really (the word gruel is so appetizing isn't it?). Congee is a stick to your ribs rice porridge that makes the bone chilling, misty Fall in Seattle a little warmer. I usually buy congee at my favorite Chinese soup house Ocean City, but my friend Zoe gave me some insider pointers on making my own. It's creamy and warm and can be flavored any way you want it. This is the kind of food that keeps you warm all day. Basically made of two or three ingredients, it's such an easy dish to make if you have an hour or so. Don't be scared of the words jook or rice gruel. Congee has become one of my most favorite comfort foods. It's the kind of dish that can make you feel like everything is okay.

1 cup calrose rice
9 cups white chicken stock
kosher salt

In a large pot, bring the stock and rice to a boil. Turn the heat to low. Partially cover allowing steam to escape.
Cook on medium low to low heat, stirring occasionally until the rice has the thick, creamy texture of porridge (about 1- 1 1/2) hours. I garnished with steamed halibut, hard-cooked quail eggs, sliced scallions, a little chili garlic paste, and a drizzle of soy sauce. You can use chicken, duck, bbq pork, shrimp, thousand year eggs, tofu, whatever you want.

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