Oh, how I love Thanksgiving. I plan for weeks ahead of time to make a memorable and delicious meal. I prepare foods for days leading up to Thanksgiving Day itself. As much as I love it, I am definitely ‘cooked out’ by the end of Thanksgiving Day.
Of course, we have leftovers to nibble on for days to come, but we have a part of our extended Thanksgiving tradition that our family looks forward to just as much as the feast itself: savory Leftover Thanksgiving Rice Porridge, also known as Juk or Congee.
Leftover Thanksgiving Rice Porridge is one of those recipes that make you feel a little like a magician. We put the picked over turkey carcass into a slow-cooker with a little bit of uncooked rice, a piece or two of ginger, a generous splash of Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce, and water, then cover it and turn it on low before we head to bed.
In the morning, whatever little meat we hadn’t managed to eat from the turkey has fallen off the bone of its own accord. The rice has transformed into a thick, hearty soup or porridge that has the incredible ability to keep your stomach satisfied for hours.
This is a loaves and fishes moment. A tiny cup and a half of rice and a turkey carcass that looked like nothing else could be wrung from it have combined to create a dish that can satisfy an entire household and guests with so little hands-on time that it’s almost laughable.
How exciting can rice porridge be? Honestly? VERY. It is one of the most commonly eaten breakfasts in Asia for many good reasons. Yes, it is insanely economical, but it doesn’t get to be that widely eaten without also being incomparably delicious and comforting.
Leftover Thanksgiving Rice Porridge has the unique ability to deliver that comfort and bring a touch of Asia to our Thanksgiving traditions to honor my family’s connection to Asia through my sister, brother, and sister-in-law.
You can stop right there with that delicious and humble Leftover Thanksgiving Rice Porridge, if you’d like. With a little drizzle of soy sauce, it is pure soul food at this point and one of the best sick-day foods in the entire world.
If you want to dress it up a bit (because, while delicious, it is admittedly not a glamourous looking dish when served on its own), you can serve any or all of the following on top: thinly sliced green onions, soft boiled eggs, toasted or spicy sesame oil, and fresh cilantro. I like mine with all of the aforementioned, plus some leftover roasted sweet potatoes and pomegranate arils.
The key to Leftover Thanksgiving Rice Porridge, though, is not to overthink or over-engineer the whole thing. It is simple. It is pure comfort. Use what you have on hand and it will not disappoint. It is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving.
And unlike Thanksgiving Day, I can eat this in my pajamas with no plans for the day other than a good book and a comfy chair.
- The Leftover Thanksgiving Rice Porridge can be made in the slow cooker overnight or in a deep, covered pot on the stovetop. Either will work. My preference is the slow cooker because I love to wake up to my rice porridge, but that is simply logistics. It tastes equally wonderful whether simmered on the lowest setting possible on the stovetop or in your slow cooker.
- You can use whichever long grain, uncooked white rice you prefer as long as it isn’t instant. I like both jasmine and basmati for the job. I’ve not had much luck using brown rice because the intact bran seems to keep the porridge from becoming quite as creamy as I like it.
- Eggs are not strictly necessary on Leftover Thanksgiving Rice Porridge, but I sure love them. For a perfect soft boiled egg, bring about 3 inches of water to a boil in a 2 quart saucepan then lower the heat to a simmer. Carefully lower 4 or 6 eggs into the simmering water and set your timer for 6 minutes. At exactly 6 minutes, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs into an ice water bath just to make them easier to handle. Use a spoon to tap all over the egg, breaking the shell, then peel. The eggs should be perfectly soft boiled. If poached or fried eggs are more your thing, they’ll be just as delicious on top!
- Both for seasoning my Leftover Thanksgiving Rice Porridge and for drizzling over the top, I prefer Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce. I like the umami goodness it imparts without leaving my porridge a salt bomb. I use so much Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce that I buy it by the gallon almost quarterly. I’m a Kikkoman fan girl, really.
- It’s not obligatory to put roasted sweet potatoes on your Leftover Thanksgiving Rice Porridge, but I do so love them there. I am likeliest to top my porridge with a handful of my Roasted Sweet Potato Croutons. They’re pretty and they’re a fun textural and taste addition, plus I almost always have them on hand.
- As for which leftover turkey to use, I’d say go for whatever bird was on your table, obviously. If you’re looking for a delicious and simple turkey recipe, you can try our Cranberry Spice Rubbed Turkey Breast, or this, or this!
- Speaking of the turkey carcass; on the off chance that you haven’t already, please remove any excess fat or skin that remains on the bird. You don’t want a super-fatty rice porridge. Or maybe you do? Who am I to say? I should say “I” don’t want a super-fatty rice porridge. I prefer to add my oil later in the form of chili oil.
- Oh, and it should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway for safety’s sake. Any time you make a soup stock or anything else from a turkey carcass there’s a small chance of little bones falling into the broth. Just eat like you would eat any homemade chicken or turkey soup; carefully.
Use this to make Turkey Congee
Leftover Thanksgiving Rice Porridge
- For the Leftover Thanksgiving Rice Porridge:
- 1 leftover turkey carcass trimmed of any excess fat and skin
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
- 2 pieces fresh ginger root 2-inches long each, peeled
- 16 cups water
- 1/3 cup Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- Optional Garnishes:
- Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce
- soft boiled egg
- leftover roasted sweet potatoes or other roasted vegetables
- pomegranate arils
- chopped cilantro
- thinly sliced green onions
- spicy chili oil chili garlic sauce, or Happy Lady/Spicy Chili Crisp
- toasted sesame oil
- Slow Cooker Instructions:
- Place the turkey carcass in the slow cooker. Pour the rice around the edges of the turkey and place the pieces of ginger root on either side of the carcass. Pour the water and soy sauce over the top and sprinkle with the kosher salt. Put the lid in place and set heat to low. Cook for as few as 8 hours but up to 10. Use a slotted spoon and tongs to remove the carcass from the rice porridge. Pull away any meat that remains on the carcass and return the meat to the slow cooker. Discard the bones. Stir well.
- Stove Top Instructions:
- Place the turkey carcass in a deep pot. Pour the rice around the edges of the turkey and place the pieces of ginger root on either side of the carcass. Pour the water and soy sauce over the top and sprinkle with the kosher salt. Put the lid in place and set the burner to medium high. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Use a slotted spoon and tongs to remove the carcass from the rice porridge. Pull away any meat that remains on the carcass and return the meat to the pot. Discard the bones. Stir well.
- To Serve:
- Ladle generously into serving bowls. Top each serving with as many or as few of the optional garnishes as desired. Store leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator.
This post originally published November 1, 2016. Updated November 22, 2018.