When it comes to fueling up after training or while on big endurance trips, I seek out foods that both fuel the body and feed the soul. Congee -- a savory rice porridge I discovered on my various trips to South East Asia -- fits the bill.
In Laos, where I'm just starting my 4th #MTBLao expedition, congee is usually served up for breakfast and during the cold season. There are many variations, but the basic foundation is rice and chicken broth.
It's a comfort food that I've grown to love and now make at home because it's easy to cook, uses a handful of ingredients and makes the house smell great while it's bubbling away. It also keeps really well and makes great leftovers, so I usually make a big pot and serve it hot for dinner, then eat the leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day.
And whenever I land in Laos, it's the local fare I crave most.
Congee: The recipe
Ingredients: 6 cups water 4 cups chicken broth 1 1/2 lbs. bone-in chicken legs or thighs 1 cup long grain rice 2-inch piece of fresh ginger 2 teaspoons kosher salt pepper to taste
Garnishes: get creative here! These are some of my favorites:
Fresh cilantro Sliced scallions Diced hot peppers Hard-boiled egg Bragg liquid amino acid Roasted peanuts
Prepare and chop the ingredients. Remove the skin from the chicken and trim excess fat. Slice the ginger into pieces, leaving the skin on. Hard-boil an egg if you want to add that as a garnish on top. Place everything, except the cilantro and other garnishes, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven and bring to a boil over a medium-high heat.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and cook at a lively simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice has completely broken down and the mixture is creamy. This takes about one hour. Turn off the heat.
Remove the chicken from the pot and place on a cutting board. When it's cool enough to handle, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the cartilage and bones. Return the shredded chicken to the pot. Stir to combine, taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro, scallions and other garnishes.