So on Monday I featured the Lechon Manok, or Filipino Roasted Chicken I made for my mom’s 50th birthday. I actually roasted 4 chickens to feed everyone and make sure there was enough leftovers for lunches (plus it’s a fiesta – it’s required that you have a lot of food!) On a random side note, learn from my lesson, when roasting 4 chickens in the same oven it takes longer to cook all the chickens (which I forgot to account for), so dinner ended up being served 30 minutes late…oops.
But anyway, after carving we were left with 4 chicken carcasses with a ton of meat still on each. And do you think I’m throwing that away? Nope! I kept one of them for Mark and I then gave the rest to my family so they could make their own arroz caldo (rice soup) out of the leftovers.
For us, I tend to stick more with the breakfast version of congee or jook. A person’s congee/jook/arroz caldo is a highly personal mix, with everyone having their own version that they prefer. I like to make ours in the slow cooker for the ultimate in hands-off convenience, and that way I get to sleep as it cooks. Then in the morning all I have to worry about is doing the garnishes.
I’ll admit it though – congee is typically made and served very plain with an end goal of allowing others to garnish it up as they like it. My version leans more toward a highly flavored arroz caldo in deference to how we like it…and the fact that when I made it in the typical congee way my American husband was very confused by how he was supposed to garnish the bowl and just in general what to do .
The recipe I’ve detailed below makes a giant amount, enough for a minimum of 6 generous servings. We’ll usually each have some that morning and then I portion it out into 2 cup freezable mason jars (I’ll have enough for 4 – 5 jars) and toss it in the freezer. When I know we’ll want some the next day, I’ll stick it in the fridge to defrost and then reheat it, covered over low heat in a saucepan until hot. It’s basically the perfect make-ahead dish for us – and super tasty as a bonus.
Let’s talk garnishes for a second though; a better question would be what can’t you garnish congee with? It’s perfect for feeding a crowd/picky eaters. We’ve got our favorites, but here’s just a small (and nowhere near exhaustive) sampling of the options:
- Sriacha or Chili Garlic Sauce or Chili Bean Sauce
- Calamansi or Maggi Savor Calamansi
- Sweet Chili Sauce
- Kecap Manis
- Light or Dark Soy Sauce
- Fried Eggs
- Salted Duck Eggs
- Green Onions / Chives
- Fried Shallots or Fried Garlic
- Shredded Pork or Other Meats
Actually, as I sit here writing this, I’m thinking about throwing in some kale or other greens into the recipe to cook overnight as well…but that’s another post. Below I’ve featured our personal favorites, but experiment and use whatever you prefer.
- 1 leftover roasted chicken carcass
- 1 cup long grain brown rice
- 8 cups of water
- 6 dried shiitakes
- 1 ½ Tbsp fresh minced ginger
- 8 – 12 cloves of garlic, minced
- Pepper, a couple grinds
- 3 Tbsp kecap manis
- 1 ½ Tbsp light soy sauce
- ½ Tbsp granulated onion
- ½ Tbsp chili garlic sauce, chili bean sauce, or Sriacha (if worried about spice level, can omit and just serve at table)
- Garnishes: medium fried egg, lightly fried until golden brown minced garlic, thinly sliced green onions
- Combine rice through chili sauce in a 6 qt slow cooker and stir to combine. Place chicken carcass into slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.
- Before serving, remove chicken from slow cooker (careful, it will fall apart), and discard any bones you can find. Place chicken meat back into slow cooker and stir well to make sure everything is combined. Remove shiitakes from cooker and thinly slice (or discard) and stir back into cooker.
- Divide between bowl and serve with garnishes.
My fav mix: Sriacha, medium egg, fried garlic, black pepper, Maggi Savor with Calamansi and more kecap manis. The husband’s fav: medium egg, fried garlic and hoisin