Green garlic and brown rice porridge
I may be jumping the gun, but seeing green garlic at the market got me really fired up for spring. I can hardly wait until the markets are totally overflowing with the bounty of green goodness that typically comes our way in the pre summer months. Fingers crossed that the lack of rain we have been experiencing doesn’t put a damper on things (pun sort of intended). Until then, for the next month or so, green garlic will be my gateway veg. For maximum impact, I used it two ways in this recipe. First, I added loads of it freshly sliced along with some ginger to simmer with the brown rice and a base of shiitake stock. Then, I pan fried some slices until they were crispy and brown to sprinkle on top. You might think all of this garlic sounds like a recipe for disaster if you’re ever planning to be in the presence of another human being again, but fear not. Green garlic is basically a less mature version of regular garlic and is much less pungent than it’s assertive older brother.
Now, let’s talk about the brown rice porridge. This style of rice dish is also known as jook or congee, but I have no idea if what I made is officially either of those things so I decided to stick with porridge. It’s basically a really simple, hearty, comforting soup that has you cook rice to the point where it totally breaks down and the starch from the rice thickens the liquid of the broth. I made this yesterday, the day after the Super Bowl, and I’m not gonna lie… I was a little hungover. This soup totally did the trick – the aromatics from the green garlic and ginger along with the richness of the shiitake broth and the comfort of the rice was just what I needed. The leftovers are quite good for breakfast too, so even though this recipe makes a lot chances are it won’t go to waste.
Green garlic and brown rice porridge recipe
6 cups shiitake broth (see below)
1 cup short grain brown rice
2 cups thinly sliced green garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Wash rice well. Put rice in heavy bottom pot with 2 cups of mushroom broth. Bring to a boil and add 4 more cups of the broth. Simmer partly covered for 30 mins. Add ginger and 1 cup of the sliced green garlic and salt and simmer for 1 hour. Add water as needed while cooking – the soup should have more liquid than a risotto when finished. I added three additional cups of water by the time I was done.
Meanwhile, in a small heavy bottom pot, add the other cup of sliced green garlic and add enough grape seed oil to submerge the sliced garlic. Bring the temperature to medium high heat and stir the garlic constantly until the oil really starts to oil and the garlic just begins to brown. Turn off the heat and continue to stir until the garlic is the desired shade – a nice golden brown. Strain the oil from the garlic and reserve the flavored oil for another use. Drain the fried garlic slices on a paper towel and gently pat to remove any excess oil.
To finish the soup, check on the thickness and add a little more water if needed. Also, check the seasoning and add salt to taste. Serve in bowls with some fried green garlic sprinkled on top.
Shiitake broth recipe
2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
In a large heavy bottomed pot, add the dried shiitakes to 8 cups of water and over medium/high heat bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and cover, continuing to simmer the shiitakes for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and strain the shiitakes, reserving the broth. You should have about 6 cups of broth. The rehydrated shiitakes can be used for another purpose such as a stir fry or scramble.