Cheats Chicken & Mushroom Congee

mushroom & chicken congee I am so Australian it’s ridiculous. However, I have a serious penchant for Asian food. It’s my default region of the world when it comes to food. For me, congee is comfort food. When I feel sick, or lazy or sad, I turn to the gentle snuggle of a bowl of congee. The downside of course is that it’s not a quick cook, which when you’re feeling lazy is rather disappointing. Introducing – Cheats Congee.

If you are unfamiliar with congee, the description sounds like something Oliver Twist would eat. It’s a rice porridge. Sounds bland and blech. But it’s not, it’s subtle and yum and very cosy. Each Asian country has their own version of congee. This one is chinese style. In reality, risotto is also part of the congee family. So is rice pudding.

For this recipe I use my Thermomix. Beginning to end, 10 minutes. Oh yeah! In theory I am sure you could easily employ a blender if you don’t have a Thermomix (or the like). This recipe uses a lot of leftovers. Leftover rice chicken and rice stock*. That’s not to say you couldn’t use uncooked rice or fresh stock from a packet. What you get from using leftover rice is a 20 minute time saving in cooking time. At least! If you are cooking this on the stovetop, it should cook out for at least an hour. And, what you get from using the leftover rice stock is a gorgeously silky glutinous texture. A fresh stock won’t have that slightly jelly-like wobble. Perhaps you’re not into that, if so, then just use fresh stock. Depth of flavour is also not to be mocked. There are so few ingredients here that the more developed your stock is, the better it’s going to taste. But you know, we can’t pre-plan every meal because who has the energy or time. If however you do manage to pull it off with my total cheats method, the flavour will knock your socks off!!! Seriously I can’t empahsise this enough – KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF! It’s a flavourful bowl of heaven.

Serves 1.

Ingredients

  • a handful of fresh mushrooms, or one large flat field mushroom, ripped up
  • 3-4 pieces of dried porcini (this is optional – but remember what I said about depth of flavour?)
  • 500g stock*
  • 1 small chicken breast or thigh, cooked, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of cooked rice
  • spring onion, chopped for garnish

If using uncooked ingredients…

  • a chunk of ginger (to taste, a 1-inch block will give a fair amount of heat and punch so use less if desired)
  • a clove of garlic

Gear

  • Thermomix

Method 1 (using leftovers)

  1. Add all ingredients except spring onion into the Thermomix mixing bowl
  2. Cook 8 mins/90°C/speed 1
  3. Blitz 3 seconds/speed 4
  4. Serve into a bowl, sprinkle spring onion on top
  5. If you have some (available in asian supermarkets), I’d also drizzle sweet red vinegar all over the top. Yuuuuum!!!!!

Method 2 (using all fresh/uncooked ingredients)

  1. Chop the garlic & ginger 10 seconds/speed 5
  2. Add the chicken and a dash of olive oil
  3. Saute 4 mins/90°C/speed 1
  4. Add all ingredients except the rice into the bowl
  5. Place the rice in the steaming basket
  6. Cook 25 mins/varoma/speed 1 (yep you really want it to break down so it’s super soft)
  7. Drop the rice into the mixing bowl
  8. Blitz 3 seconds/speed 4
  9. Serve into a bowl, sprinkle spring onion on top
  10. If you have some (available in asian supermarkets), I’d also drizzle sweet red vinegar all over the top. Yuuuuum!!!!!

* you fresh if you wish. For a lovely texture and flavour, use stock kept from cooking batches of rice in stock. What I mean is, I keep chinese master stock is ziplock bags in the freezer. When I cook rice to go with asian dishes (and middle eastern to be honest), I use the master stock instead of water. After the rice has been cooked you are left with a bowl of glutinous starchy liquid that is packed with flavour. I freeze it and use it in soups such as this.

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