When someone says ‘porridge,’ most people think: 1) Goldilocks and the Three Bears, 2) peasant food and 3) Yuck! Tastless! Oats? Bleck!? Porridge? Disgusting.
Well, I’m here to change your mind about this porridge business.
Growing up, my mom used to make a very hearty rice porridge for us, particularly when we were sick, using very starchy, left over sticky rice (rice used for sushi) and just enough steaming hot chicken/beef broth to create an almost rice pudding/risotto consistency. She’d then serve it to us with some homemade kimchi using cabbage.
Sounds strange? It was delicious – and just the right comfort food to boost the immune system and warm the insides.
The dramatic drop in temperature not only mustered nostalgia, but also inspired this Chicken and Leek Porridge recipe. It is a jazzed up replica of my mother’s soup, fortified with sweet carrots, woodsy baby Bella mushrooms, big chunks of roasted chicken and brown basmati rice. Perfect for a very cold autumn day or when you need a boost.
Chicken and Leek Porridge
Makes 4-6 servings
1 chicken breast, bone in, skin on
1 large leek, thinly sliced (make sure you thoroughly wash your leek! Lots of sand!)
1 medium onion, diced
3 medium garlic gloves, minced
2 small carrots, diced
2-tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp chili pepper flakes (optional)
½ cup of brown basmati rice*
5 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup of baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
½ cup of green peas
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Rub your chicken with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle on 1 tsp of salt and ½ a tsp of ground black pepper. Put in oven for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit. (if you don’t’ have time to cook your chicken, you can buy a rotisserie from the store and shred about a 1 ½ cup of the chicken.)
Using a large soup pot (large creuset is nice), turn heat on to medium. Once pot is hot, add the 1-tablespoon of olive oil, the onions, carrots and the leek. Add 1 tsp of salt and ½ a tsp of ground black pepper. Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Add the bay leaf, thyme and chili pepper flakes (if using). Stir for 1-2 minutes. Then add the rice. Stir the rice until well coated with oil and well combined with other ingredients. Add 5 cups of the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and put the cover on the pot. Stirring occasionally (so the rice doesn’t settle), let simmer for about 45 minutes.
In the meantime, shred your roasted chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. After 45 minutes, your rice should have a porridge-like consistency (slightly more liquid present than in a risotto, but not as much as a soup). Add your shredded chicken, mushrooms and peas. Stir and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Serve with a little parsley on top and enjoy hot!
* The basmati rice is not nearly as starchy as a shorter grain rice, so you won’t fully get a porridge like consistency here if you use it. However, I use it in my recipe because it has greater nutritional benefits.