If you're a savory breakfast-lover like me, this chicken congee, which takes less than two minutes to throw into the slow cooker, will make you look forward to waking up and facing the day. The fact that you're asleep the whole time it bubbles away makes it the ultimate hands-off recipe.
My mother didn't make breakfast very often when I was growing up, but when she did, this congee was one of my favorites. She would put bone-in chicken, rice, and ginger in the slow cooker, top it off with water, and let it cook all night long. In the morning, we feasted on a hot, comforting breakfast, and there would be enough leftover for more breakfasts or even lunch.
This recipe seems almost too simple, with just three key ingredients, but that's the beauty of congee. You can actually taste the chicken and ginger, and it's all suspended in a creamy rice porridge that's the result of hours of cooking so that the rice is completely broken down.
Customize Your Congee
You can eat this congee plain or doctor it up depending on your mood. Fresh toppings like cilantro, scallions, or ginger add a bit of bite and freshness, as do roasted peanuts. You can also add a few drops of soy sauce or toasted Asian sesame oil. Feel free to experiment and find the combination you like best.
Slow Cooker Ginger Chicken Congee
Makes about 2 1/4 quarts; serves 6 to 8
- For the congee:
bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
long-grain white rice, preferably jasmine
(1/4-inch-thick) slices fresh ginger, smashed
teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- Optional toppings:
Thinly sliced scallions
Minced fresh ginger
Fresh cilantro leaves
Tamari or soy sauce
Place all the ingredients for the congee in a 5-quart or larger slow cooker. Cover and cook until very creamy and the rice is completely broken down, 8 to 10 hours on the LOW setting or 5 hours on the HIGH setting.
Transfer the chicken and ginger to a plate. Stir the congee with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape against the bottom and sides of the slow cooker to incorporate congee that's sticking there.
Shred the chicken, then stir the meat back into the slow cooker, discarding the bones, skin, cartilage, and ginger. If you would like a thinner congee, add additional water 1/4 cup at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Taste and season with more salt as needed. Serve hot with the toppings.
Storage: The congee can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.