Vietnamese Chicken Congee

Stock: - 5 chicken thighs, bone in & with skin - 1 two-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled & halved lengthwise - 5 whole cloves garlic, peeled - 1 onion, peeled & quartered - 10 peppercorns Congee: - 2 tbsp olive oil - 3/4 cup jasmine rice, rinsed & drained - 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped - 3 shallots, diced - 1 tbsp fresh, minced ginger - 4 stalks scallion, thinly sliced (white for soup, green for garnish) - 2 tbsp fish sauce - fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste - handful fresh Vietnamese coriander leaves, chopped - handful fresh Thai basil leaves, chopped - handful fresh spearmint leaves, chopped - lime wedges (optional)
To make stock, put first set of ingredients into a 6-qt stock pot and fill up with cold water. Bring to a boil and immediately lower heat to let stock gently simmer. Allow chicken to poach for about 25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken and cool. Carefully take meat off the bones by trying to keep the meat in large pieces. Return skins and bones to stock pot to continue simmering. The chicken meat can then be shredded for use in congee or salad. Continue to add hot water to stock pot to keep ingredients submerged for the remainder of cooking time. I like to simmer my stock for at least 2 hours, but ideally it should simmer for 6 hours or longer. Once done, pour stock through a fine mesh strainer into another stock pot. Discard the solids. Rinse and drain rice. Heat up a skillet with olive oil, shallot, ginger, garlic and rice and toss until rice is fragrant and fully coated with oil. Transfer rice to pot of simmering stock. Cook for another 30 minutes or until rice is tender. Add white part of scallions, fish sauce and salt & pepper. Serve in soup bowl, topped with shredded chicken and chopped herbs. You can squeeze a bit of fresh lime juice for a burst of freshness. Mix all ingredients up before eating in order to savor all the wonderful flavors.