Jook is also known as Congee, or rice porridge, but at The Slaughterhouse, it's known as Chinese Risotto. Risotto is a slow cooked, creamy rice, it's definitely Italian comfort food...and Jook is made the same way, making it Asian comfort food...to the umptht degree!
If you've ever had congee, then you're probably rolling your eyes and thinking I'm crazy...but when I tell you this recipe comes via Mark Bittman (author of more than 20 cookbooks, food writer for the New York Times, among others) then you have to know this recipe for Jook is not your ordinary bland rice porridge that all of Asia eats, morning, noon and night. Let me spell it out for you, it's as opposite from bland as you can get. Thanks to ginger, this bowl full of comfort is full of flavor with bacon lending a smoky essence. Right before serving, crispy bacon is sprinkled over top, along with roasted peanuts and chopped green onions and it's finished with a drizzle of sesame oil. Oh. My. Stars.
Like Risotto, Jook cooks slowly - but don't let the 2 hours or so it takes to make keep you from making it - it's worth the time! And here's the good news, you don't have to babysit Jook, just stir it occasionally and add water if needed until it is creamy and soupy and ends up with the consistency of loose oatmeal. When I placed the mister's bowl in front of him, he looked at it and asked, "What is this crap?" His command for the English language never ceases to amaze me. I told him it was Chinese Risotto and he said, "That'll work!" And it does. On every level.
Jook - Adapted From Mark Bittman, The Best Recipes In The World
1 cup short-grain rice (I used brown rice)
2 to cups chicken stock, preferably homemade, or water
1 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 pound slab of bacon
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup crispy cooked bacon, minced, for serving
1/4 cup minced green onions, for serving
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, for serving
sesame oil for drizzling when served
Wash rice and put it in a stock pot with chicken stock or water. Place over high heat until stock boils, then add about 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, and turn heat to low. Partly cover pot, simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water as necessary (probably about 2 cups more).
Add ginger and slab bacon, and simmer for an hour more or so. Jook should be soupy, if it becomes thick, add more water. After an hour, remove bacon and serve Jook in individual bowls. Season with salt as needed and garnish with minced bacon, green onions, peanuts and finish off with a drizzle of sesame oil. Serves 6.