My congee: Roast a duck carcass and neckbone at 500 degrees until well browned; put them in a 6-quart slow cooker with 1 cup long-grain rice and fill the pot with water. Add a cheesecloth bag of spices—star anise, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, and cloves—and sprinkle in some ground cinnamon (this to approximate five-spice, which uses Szechuan peppercorns; mine were too old and too lost in the back of the cupboard). Cook on low or high until the duck carcass seems to be pretty much done giving up its flavor, but before the rice has started to expand; remove and discard the duck (pull off any bits of meat and return them to the cooker) and the bag of spices. Continue to cook on low or high until the rice disintegrates and "blooms." Season with soy sauce before or after ladling it into a bowl. Garnish with cilantro, chile-garlic sauce, and sliced scallions. I kept the congee unsoy-sauced so I can give some to the bug for supper. I think she'll like the funny texture and meaty flavor of it.I probably won't be able to post anything for a little while, as I'm completely logjammed with work and I need to just buckle down and do it. One or two frozen pizzas (and warmed-up congee, and maybe some duck prosciutto) are in the Chalmerses' near future, I'm afraid.
Friday, January 19, 2007
That is, hot food for when you're fighting off a cold, as I think I am now. My first attempt at congee, a New York Chinatown staple, is pretty good. Untraditional, but good.