Start a new Thanksgiving tradition and turn your turkey carcass into San Francisco-based chef Brandon Jew's savory rice porridge. It's Chinese American comfort food at its best and a perfect way to use leftovers as toppings.
After you carve your Thanksgiving bird, stick the carcass straight into a large stockpot with a smoked ham hock and water (and a few other things), and let it simmer into a rich, flavorful turkey broth. Cook the broth with rice low and slow until the rice breaks down into a creamy, blank canvas for all of your Thanksgiving leftovers. If you have enough of those leftovers, go ahead and skip the roasted vegetables in this recipe.
What's the perfect consistency of jook, also known as congee? Jew says it should be viscous enough (like quicksand) that the toppings stay on top and nothing sinks. The rice will continue to thicken as it cooks and sits, so loosen it with water as needed.
To learn more, read "The Jook's on You."
Turkey Jook (Rice Porridge)
Recipe adapted from Brandon Jew, Mister Jiu's, San Francisco, CA
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 to 6 hours and 20 minutes
Total Time: 5 to 6 hours and 40 minutes
For the Turkey Stock:
1 turkey carcass, cut in half
1 turkey neck (optional, if saved)
1 smoked ham hock
1 carrot, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 scallions (white parts only), cut into 1-inch pieces
1-inch piece ginger, peeled
5 quarts cold water
For the Jook:
3 quarts turkey stock
1½ cups long-grain white rice
½ cup wild rice
2 to 4 cups water, divided, plus more as needed
¾ pound sunchokes, cut into ½-inch pieces (4 cups cut sunchokes)
¾ pound Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and quartered (3 cups cut Brussels sprouts)
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
Kosher salt, to taste
4 medium carrots, roughly chopped (2 cups chopped carrots)
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped (2 cups chopped celery)
1 garlic clove, minced (1 tablespoon minced garlic)
1-inch piece ginger, minced (1 teaspoon minced ginger)
For the Garnish:
4 cups roasted and shredded turkey
½ cup fried shallots
1 cup cilantro leaves (some stems are OK)
½ cup thinly sliced scallions (green and white parts)
Freshly ground white peppercorns
1. Make the stock: In a tall, large stockpot, combine the turkey carcass, turkey neck, smoked ham hock, carrots, scallions and ginger. Cover with the cold water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 3½ to 4 hours, occasionally skimming away excess fat and impurities. Remove from the heat and strain. Pull apart and reserve any turkey and ham hock meat, discarding the cooked carcass and vegetables. Makes about 3 cups of turkey stock. Make ahead: Cool the stock completely and store in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.
2. Make the jook: Preheat the oven to 425° and arrange one oven rack in the middle and one in the lower third of the oven.
3. Pour the turkey stock into a clean stockpot, along with the pulled meat and white and wild rice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cover with the lid ajar. Simmer, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn, until the white rice is broken down and the wild rice is cooked through, adding water as needed, about 1½ hours. The mixture should be the consistency of a loose porridge, yielding about 3 quarts of jook. Make ahead: Cool and store the jook in the fridge, covered, for up to 1 day. To reheat, add 2 to 3 cups of water and bring to a simmer, stirring often until hot.
4. While the rice is cooking, roast the vegetables: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and add the sunchokes and Brussels sprouts. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the canola oil and season with salt. Line a separate sheet tray with parchment paper and add the carrots, celery, garlic and ginger. Toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil and 1 tablespoon of water, and season with salt. Roast the Brussels sprouts and sunchokes on the middle rack for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 400° and add the carrots and celery to the bottom oven rack, roasting all the vegetables 10 minutes more.
5. Serve family style: Return the congee to medium heat, adding water as needed and stirring often, until hot. Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt. Place each garnish in its own serving bowl; do the same with the roasted sunchokes and Brussels sprouts, roasted carrots and celery. Let people spoon jook into individual bowls and garnish as they like.