Turkey Congee made with turkey leftovers

Turkey Congee With Cranberries – classic flavors transformed

Make leftover turkey feel like something new

I lifted the idea of using Arborio rice to make congee, a Chinese rice porridge, from Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen YearTurkey Congee With Cranberries - classic flavors transformed 1. But I have the bounty of Thanksgiving leftovers to thank for the inspiration to make a dried cranberry and turkey congee!

I do love turkey leftovers just as they are–a repeat of the best meal of the year. But I also love variety and I can’t resist making the classic flavors of Thanksgiving into something new. And although I promote this recipe as a great solution to Holiday season leftovers, this Turkey Congee is a comfort food I whip up all winter long. It’s one of my favorite dishes for under the weather days.

Turkey Congee made with Arborio

Arborio is a short grain rice variety. You probably know it best as the rice used in risotto. It’s a very starchy rice that tends to get quite creamy in texture when cooked. (If you want to learn more about arborio, The Spruce Eats breaks it down very well in this article.) With risotto, the goal is to create a creamy dish but maintain the firmness at the core of the rice. That gets tricky. But when you make congee with the rice, the cooking is simplified because the goal is to create a super creamy, comforting porridge.

I find the creamy comfort of Arborio, the rice used in risotto, to be a really nice base for serving turkey leftovers. To it I add the sweet bite of dried cranberries (which are also aphrodisiac. Read more about what makes cranberries a food of love.). The addition of the cranberries gives the Turkey Congee the same sweet/savory interplay you get from a Thanksgiving dinner. Combine with the crunch of salty peanuts or cashews–which are, of course, aphrodisiac, it makes a surprisingly sensual, simple dish. Best of all, it’s comfort food but one made from a collection of healthy ingredients. What more could you ask from a winter meal?

5 from 3 votes
Turkey Congee made with turkey leftovers
Turkey Congee With Cranberries
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins

A sensational use for Holiday leftovers, this Turkey Congee uses Arborio rice fur a rich, creamy base and leftover turkey for the protein. The addition of dried cranberries and salted nuts give it texture and a boost of flavor. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Congee
Cooking Style: Easy
Diet and Health: healthy-ish
Seasonal: Christmas, Holiday season, Thanksgiving
Ingredient: Arborio rice, turkey
Servings: 4 servings
Created by: Amy Reiley
  • 9 c turkey stock
  • 1 c Arborio rice
  • 1 c roast turkey meat shredded or chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lg carrot shredded
  • 3-4 scallions sliced into rounds, both white and green
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries chopped
  • 1 tbsp roasted salted peanuts or cashews, chopped
  • fresh ginger for grating
  • high-quality soy sauce
  1. Add the stock and rice to a stockpot, cover, and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir and turn the temperature down to a simmer. Simmer covered for one hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. While the congee is cooking, prepare the toppings. (My suggestions are above but feel free to omit any or add others you prefer.)
  4. Scoop the congee into bowls and top with your favorite ingredients. Grate ginger over the top to taste and add a shot of soy sauce before serving.

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turkey congee pinnable graphic



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