Search This Blog

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pressure Cooker Chicken Congee (Gai Jook) - Winter is Coming



So, what is congee, you might ask? It sounds exotic but it's really just a nice, soupy, savoury rice porridge that is the perfect remedy for frigid winter mornings. Even though we go for dim sum regularly, we don't usually order this because it's really filling and it cuts down on the amount of dumplings I can scarf so it's something I save for home, but, pre Instant Pot, I didn't make this as often as I would have liked. Since my wizard pot truly lets me set it and forget it, I plan to make a batch of this every weekend over the winter. I am NOT a sweet breakfast girl oat porridge, but any porridge with brown sugar and cream doesn't hold any appeal to me but any porridge that lets me garnish it with crispy pork, chilis and other savoury treats is the food of my cold, dark heart.



You can make congee with any sort of broth but chicken congee is a great way to use up the leftovers from a roast chicken, whether its a bird you roasted yourself or a bubble chicken that you picked up at the supermarket. Just throw in the entire carcass, all leftover meat, some onion or leek, a chunk of celery, some garlic and ginger in the pressure cooker, set it and walk away.

Being one of those almost foolproof dish, the worst thing that can happen is that you end up with a congee that is a bit on the bland side because you under seasoned your broth but that can be fixed with your garnishes, so not to worry. On the odd occasion that I realize that my broth was a bit lacklustre, I just drizzle on a bit more soy sauce and sesame oil and that takes care of that.

Congee is a Chinese grandmother's chicken soup, her ace up her sleeve, her magic bullet to perk up anyone in the family is feeling under the weather, sad or beset with a bad case of existential angst.



Pressure Cooker Congee (Gai Jook)

you can make this with premade chicken broth or you can make the broth with raw chicken too but I love the ease of using a leftover chicken carcass. If using your own broth, just use 7 cups and cook that with the cup of white rice


1 roast chicken carcass, with any extra meat
7 cups of water
about 2" of fresh ginger or 1 tbls of freeze dried ginger ( I love Litehouse freeze dried herbs for emergencies)
2 garlic cloves or 2 tsp freeze dried garlic
1 tbls freeze dried chives or a small bunch of fresh
handful of leftover onion chunks or leeks, including skin if it's still on the onion
1 stalk celery roughly chopped
kosher salt to taste
1 cup of rinsed white rice ( I use basmati)

optional garnishes:
sesame oil
chili oil ( I like Spicy Chili Crisp from Lo Gan Ma)
sliced scallions
soy sauce
Ground, dry roasted peanuts
cilantro
sesame seeds
leftover Chinese BBQ pork, roast pork, pork belly or cooked Chinese sausage - you get the picture


Throw the chicken carcass, water, ginger, garlic, chives, onion and celery into the instant pot and program 30 minutes on HP. When the time is up, QR

Strain the broth into a big bowl or another pot, setting the solids aside to cool.
When the solids have cooled enough for you to pick through, remove all of the meat off of the bones and set aside and throw out all of the bones and other solids.

Measure 7 cups of broth and pour back into the pot of your pressure cooker and add 1 cup of rinsed white rice, stir well and lock the lid on, close the valve to vent and program for 30 minutes HP. Since you are using hot stock, it will come to pressure fairly quickly.

When the time is up, give it at least a 10 minute NPR or, if you have the time, let it come all the way down on it's own.

Open up the lid when the pressure has been released, stir in the reserved meat, check to see if it needs more salt and ladle into bowls. Garnish each as you like :

I like the whole shebang but you can stick to just what you like - just soy sauce and a bit of scallion or leave out the nuts. It's up to you.