Fasten your seatbelt, this is a doozie! This has instantly become one of my favorite recipes, but it is not for beginners! I will try to keep it as simple as possible, and I promise you it is worth the time and effort. This dish is one of the menu items at Myer’s and Chang in Boston, and the minute I tried it, I knew I wanted to make it. Finally Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz have published a cookbook named Myers and Chang at home, and this yummy dish was amongst their recipes. So, channel your inner chef and cook with me!

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What you’ll need:

Congee

  • 1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 fresh Thai bird chili (I actually used a poblano when I couldn’t find it)
  • 1 recipe Nirvana chicken (see below)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup uncooked short-grain white rice
  • 1 recipe crispy shallots (see below)

Nirvana Chicken

  • 1 pound bone-in, skin-on chicken thights
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
  • one 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced into coins
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 Michiu (rice cooking wine, can be replaced with dry sherry or dry white wine)
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek
  • 2 whole star anise

Crispy shallots:

  • 4 medium shallots
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven heat the canola oil to medium high heat. Add the chicken carefully. Cook on both sides for about 8 minutes until browned on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 cups chicken broth, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven with a wooden spoon. Add scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, Michu, sambal oelek, star anise and 1/4 cup of water and bring to a simmer.

Return the chicken to the Dutch oven, skin side up. Cover dish tightly and cook for 2 hours in the oven. Check from time to time, and add water if necessary.

Crispy Shallots:

Thinly slice the shallots (I mean really, really thin). Stir together shallots and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir the shallots until the oil barely starts to simmer, then cook until they are golden brown. Stir occasionally for 6 – 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and rest on a paper towel. Dust with salt and let them cool.

Scallion Salsa:

In a medium bowl combine scallions, soy sauce, vinegar, salt and Thai bird chili. Stir well.

Remove the Nirvana chicken from the braising liquid and set aside. Strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium saucepan discard the solids. Spoon off the fat. Add 2 cups chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add the rice and simmer for 60 to 90 minutes, stirring frequently, never letting the rice stick to the bottom. The congee should be loose and soupy, so if it starts to thicken, add more water.

While the rice is cooking, pull the meat off the bones of the chicken into small quantities. Either A) discard the skin or B) detach it and crisp it in the oven, slice it and add it to the congee. After 60 to 90 minutes the congee should be super soft and melty, at this time add the chicken and chicken skin. Serve in bowls topped off with first the scallion salsa, and then the crispy shallots.

As you take your first bite, you will realize how much your hard work was worth it! Enjoy this amazing dish, it will warm your body and soul this winter.

For the Myers and Chang cookbook, click here

Bon Appétit!

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