Growing up in a first generation Chinese Canadian family, unusual dishes have made their way to our Thanksgiving dinner table. Snake soup, sushi, sea cucumber, and abalone have all made regular appearances during the holidays. Thanksgiving never had much meaning to me other than a reason to get together with my family and have a sensational meal. Even though we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving as it was intended, the turkey was still the guest of honour.
My mom was always the person in charge of the turkey; buying it frozen almost a month prior. I wouldn’t say she had a special knack for making turkey, since I usually found it to be a bit dry. But I didn’t know any better back then, and that was just the way it always was.
But even if I wasn’t big on the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, everyone would look forward to the meal the morning after. We would wake up to the aroma of rich turkey flavour wafting from the kitchen where my mom would be cooking up a huge vat of congee. Congee, when made correctly, is a creamy concoction of rice porridge that is sure to cure any ailments. Roasted turkey bones, still full of flavour, infuse a pot of congee with post Thanksgiving comfort. Unfortunately, my mom was always a busy woman and had a history of scorching the bottom of the pot when she left it unattended for too long. Although the congee would be tainted with the twang of burnt flavour, we still enjoyed it.
This year our family will not be having turkey, and have opted for hot pot instead, so there won’t be the usual-unusual feast. But, after a attending another (more traditional) Thanksgiving celebration, I was still able to gather the rare ingredients and make the coveted turkey congee for myself.
Makes 2-3 servings
- 3/4 cup Long Grain Rice, washed and drained
- 1 lb Turkey Carcass
- 12 cups water
- 3 slices of ginger, julienned
- 2 green onions, sliced
- dried tangerine peel, soaked and washed (optional)
- salt to taste
- Remove large pieces of meat from turkey carcass and coarsely shred reserving the bones. Discard turkey skin.
- Bring water to a boil, and add rice, turkey, bones, and tangerine peel (optional). Bring to a rolling boil, and continue to cook on HIGH, uncovered and stirring occasionally.
- After about 40 minutes, the mixture will have thickened and grains of rice will have broken down. Keep a close eye on the pot, stirring more frequently. As the mixture continues to thicken lower heat to medium to prevent scorching.
- When the grains of rice have broken down and cannot be distinguished the congee is ready. Salt to taste, then ladle into bowls and top with green onions and slivers of ginger.