Ok, people! I am pretty certain that you’ve never seen this take on Thanksgiving leftovers before, and I am super excited to let you in on our family tradition. For as long as I’ve known Bill and his family, which is almost 30 years now, Thanksgiving Turkey Congee (or jook) has been and will always be our breakfast on the day after Thanksgiving.
Use Your Turkey Carcass!
Most people throw away the turkey carcass after all is said and done. Smarter people make stock with it. And the smartest people make congee. Yep. We said it!
If you don’t have any special plans for that turkey carcass, you need to make this rice congee, because it is insanely good. I look forward to it more than the turkey itself.
Did I also mention that this has to be the easiest congee recipe ever? It is.
Waste Not, Want Not!
The best part is, the only leftovers you need are the carcass, stripped of most of the meat, and the veggies at the bottom of your roasting pan.
You get to keep any leftover turkey meat you have for sandwiches, pot pies, and other leftover dish ideas you have planned. (Try our Turkey Lo Mein, Next-Day Thanksgiving Pastries, and Leftover Turkey Ramen.)
The point is, there will be absolutely no waste when all is said and done. You want to get all the goodness you can out of that bird!
Leftover Turkey Congee: Recipe Instructions
Now that you know my feelings on this matter, let me show you how easy it is to make. You’ll only need a few things:
- your leftover turkey carcass and all the vegetables at the bottom of your roasting pan (i.e. celery, carrots, onions)
- white rice (you can also use brown rice)
- Salt, to taste
- white pepper, to taste
- chopped scallion
- chopped cilantro
- julienned ginger (optional)
In a very large stock pot, add the turkey carcass and all the veggies from the roasting pan. Pour in the water and the rice, and bring everything to a boil.
Let it simmer for 90 minutes, until the rice has kind of bloomed and opened up.
Use tongs to remove any turkey bones, etc.
You can control how thin or thick your congee is by adding more or less rice. I like mine a bit thinner, so I put in less rice (1 cup).
Ladle the congee into bowls and season with salt and white pepper to taste. Garnish with scallion, cilantro, and ginger (if desired).
How easy was that, seriously?
Now, that’s the way we’ve always done it. Congee recipes vary and if you want a really smooth congee, you can do it a slightly different way.
Alternative Method for smoother congee
Rather than adding the rice to the pot at the beginning, simply add the carcass, vegetables, and water to the stock pot. Simmer for 2-3 hours until you have a rich turkey broth.
Remove any large bones and then strain the stock into a clean pot. Add the rice, bring to a boil, and simmer for another 90 minutes. Stir in some leftover shredded turkey, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with scallions, cilantro, and ginger.
It takes a bit longer, but if you prefer your congee smoother and (for lack of a better word) cleaner, it’s another way to go!
If you’re not into congee, which I highly doubt as you’re still reading this post, definitely at least make stock or soup with the turkey carcass. Just don’t let it go to waste!
Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Congee
- In a very large stock pot, add the turkey carcass and all the veggies. Pour in the water and the rice, and bring everything to a boil. Let it simmer for 90 minutes. Use tongs to remove any bones, etc. Season with salt, white pepper, and garnish with scallion and cilantro.
- Now, that's the way we've always done it. But if you want a really smooth congee, you can do it a slightly different way. Rather than adding the rice to the pot at the beginning, simply add the carcass, vegetables, and water to the stock pot. Simmer for 2 hours until you have a rich stock.
- Remove any large bones and then strain the stock into a clean pot. Add the rice, bring to a boil, and simmer for another 90 minutes. Stir in some leftover shredded turkey, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with scallions, cilantro, and ginger (if desired).