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Jook – Comfort in a Bowl

I often wonder how many cultures have a version of this delightful warming bowl of goodness… chicken and rice.

This is not just any chicken and rice.  It’s slow cooked in a hearty broth, a thick porridge of rice, sprinkled with large chunks of roasted chicken.   My Spanish grandmother would make Arroz Con Pollo with saffron and onions.  My husband’s Chinese grandmother would make Jook with ginger, garlic, and soy sauce.

On brisk afternoons or chilly evenings; when flu season is in full blast; when you’re missing home and need a comforting hug; or when you need a meal that’s easy…you want chicken and rice.

I can remember my grandmother making arroz con pollo when my aunt would come home from college for brief visits.  The table would be full of friends and family surrounding a giant pot of warm, soothing goodness.

I’ve found this recipe to be a great way to use the leftovers from a whole roasted chicken.  I use the carcass (bones, joints, & meat) for stock and the base of the chicken and rice.  Curious to find other versions, I did a brief search and was able to find a Turkish version with yogurt & chickpeas; a Caribbean’ version with rum & plantains; a Cambodian version with ginger, lime, and shrimp; and a Columbian version with cilantro, peas, and carrots.  The base is all the same, a hearty broth, a roasted chicken carcass, leftover meat, and rice.

The cool of autumn has finally come upon us (hurray!) and this meal is perfect for those brisk afternoons or chilly nights.  All family versions of this recipe will be making its way into a gift for my son, Project Cookbook.

Below is the recipe for my husband’s grandmother’s version – Jook.  With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you can also use turkey in place of chicken!  Do you have a special version of this simple and comforting dish?

Thank you Ammy for this special recipe and the great memories you provided D and the family!  We love and miss you dearly!

Ingredients

  • 1-2 chicken carcasses (Pasture Chick Ranch Organic Pasture Raised Chicken)
  • 5qt pot
  • 6-8 cups water (enough water to barely cover the chicken carcasses)
  • 1 ½ cups rice (still looking for a bulk organic supplier…any suggestions?)
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped (Pinnacle Organics)
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce (depending on your taste and how ‘salty’) (Organic Kikkoman)
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste

Optional

  • Fresh lemon or lime juice
  • Sriracha Hot Sauce

Process

Place 1-2 already seasoned chicken carcasses in a 5 quart soup pot and cover with water (If your carcasses are not seasoned, add an ample amount of salt, a rough chopped onion, a couple of carrots, and a couple of celery stocks to the water.  This will help develop a rich broth.  If your carcasses are already seasoned, water should be sufficient).

Once the water has come to a boil, reduce the temperature to medium and simmer the carcasses and broth for at least 30 minutes to an hour.  Skim the broth every so often removing any ‘scum’ or fat from the surface.  Remove the carcasses from the broth and set aside in a bowl to cool enough to handle.  Use a spider or strainer and run through the broth making sure to remove any small bones or vegetables ensuring a safe clean broth.

Once the chicken carcasses have cooled enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and place back into the broth.  Remember to give any skin and cartilage to your pets!  Natural fats and marrow are great for their skin, coat, and joints! I usually have a “supervisor” while removing the meat from the chicken.  She knows she’s in for a treat when I’m done!

 

Add in rice and stir.  In a separate small sauté pan, brown the chopped garlic and ginger in olive oil.  Be careful to not burn the garlic or your stock will be bitter.  Add the browned garlic and ginger to the stock and stir.  Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally until the broth has reduced but is still present.  The consistency will be like porridge or even a risotto.  This will take 20 – 30 minutes, keeping your temperature at a medium simmer.  Add in soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

Your Jook is ready to serve.  I like to steam a head of broccoli and add it in for my son.  My husband likes to add Sriracha and extra soy sauce.  I like to add fresh lemon or lime juice and Sriracha.  It’s the most basic meal yet so comforting and delicious!  Enjoy!!

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