Gruel. (Oliver, anyone?)
I’m guessing you have some emotional baggage attached to these words. I remember winter morning oatmeal when I was a child, the way the oatmeal congealed. I wasn’t a fan. (See, Mom, I’m not really complaining…)
Anyway, I have found new delight in porridge. In this month’s issue of bon appetit, which is one of my favorite food magazines, the magazine staffers contributed their favorite breakfast recipes and I’ve tried the same one at least 3 times. It’s an overnight porridge made with steel-cut oats and quinoa (although I ran out of quinoa and started substituting teff. It worked.) Sadly, the recipe is not yet up on their website, otherwise I’d link to it. Please try this recipe; I guarantee, you won’t regret it! Thank you, Carla Lalli Music, BA Food & Features Editor! We love your recipe. (It serves about 5, by the way, even though the original recipe says it serves 4.)
I am putting this in my own words, but the instructions are the same.
In a medium-sized saucepan put:
1/2 C. dried fruit (I like cranberries.)
1/2 C. steel-cut oats
1/2 C. well-rinsed quinoa OR teff (You can also substitute other grains, I read.)
1/4 C. raisins (though once I put in 1/2 C. and it was still good…)
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cardamom
4 C. water
Bring to a boil. Cover and turn off the heat. Allow to sit overnight so that the grains can soak up all the water.
In the morning, reheat and serve with milk, maple syrup, toasted shelled pumpkin seeds and toasted walnuts (original recipe) or pecans (what I do.)
You can also substitute other dried fruits & grains. I will try subbing barley for the quinoa soon, and have thought about subbing apricots or dates for the cranberries.
Another porridge I’ve recently tried is Creamy Maple Polenta from bon appetit August 2006. The original recipe says that it’s a side, but I tried it for breakfast the other day and we all enjoyed it. Evelyn even asked more more. 🙂
Basically (click the link above if you want more details), boil 1 C. cornmeal (not grits!), 1 C. water, 3 C. milk (preferably whole) and one teaspoon salt together. Add 2 tablespoons each butter and maple syrup. It’s perfect!
This is the porridge you make for breakfast if you forgot to start the other porridge the night before.
These recipes make me think that if THIS were the “gruel” the workhouse boys had to eat in Oliver! “Food, Glorious Food” never would have been written.