You don't need to be a dietician to know this is good for you, but that's not all it has going for it. Food, for me, has to be delicious first and foremost and I love the more complex, nutty flavours you get here in contrast to plain oat porridge. Porridge, of course, can be made from any grain, and you could certainly substitute your favourites here, some brown rice, for example, would be lovely. I happen to love this combination and I hope you do too.
Approx. 150g, or 3/4 cup dry weight is sufficient for two adults, depending on appetite. On that calculation, this quantity will yield around 9 serves.
200g rolled oats
100g steel-cut oats
100g pearl barley
100g whole buckwheat
100g cracked (bulghur) wheat
100g amaranth (substitute quinoa)
Apple cider vinegar (optional, substitute lemon juice)
Sea salt flakes (optional)
Combine grains and store in an airtight jar. The night before you want to make porridge, measure out the required amount, and put in a glass jar or jug with half a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per person and enough water to cover by about 2cm. Cover with a lid or cloth and leave on the kitchen bench overnight.
The next morning, place porridge, the soaking liquid and more fresh water (enough to cover) into a saucepan. Add a pinch of sea salt flakes if desired. Stir over moderate heat, adding more water if necessary, for 15-20min or until you have a porridge consistency to your liking. Serve with whatever you like.
If so inclined, I encourage you to add some live yoghurt and fresh or stewed fruit for sweetness to your bowl, which makes for a pretty awesome, power-packed, and gut-friendly breakfast. I am not so virtuous as to eat this every day, and I only eat it because I love the flavour and texture, as well as the slight smug feeling of having made something from scratch, as basic as it may be. I use the rolled oats to ensure the final product is lovely and creamy, so although I have six grains listed, it's only five different grains in total. I consider porridge a winter breakfast exclusively, and I think this is the perfect foil to all the delicious poached or baked fruits you can have at this time of year - quinces, pears and apples especially - but any fresh or cooked fruit would be delicious, I like this combination of soft, sweet-sour quince with the crisp apple matchsticks. Not something I would bother with every day, but when you feel like being a little bit fancy…But really, the classic brown sugar and cream, or milk and honey are also sublime. Add cinnamon for good measure.
I can't recall where I read the tip on adding vinegar to the soaking water (and it was such an excellent website!), but from my cursory reading since, I know that the acid helps to break down the phytic acid in the grains. It is this phytic acid which inhibits the bioavailability of key nutrients. I am certainly not trained in nutrition, and am not presuming any expertise, but it is widely accepted that soaking grains both improves the uptake of essential nutrients, and increases their digestibility. It also has the obvious benefit of making the cooking time shorter, and as long as you remember to soak them the night before, this porridge couldn't be simpler. I hope you try it, do let me know how you go if you do!
Begin the recipe a day before. The beans need to be pre-soaked and cooked before proceeding with the recipe.
320 g navy beans (substitute black-eyed beans, canellini beans or other) to yield 480 g cooked
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 t coriander seeds (sub. 1 t ground)
2 t cumin seeds (sub. 1 t ground)
1 t fennel seeds (sub. 1 t ground)
2 t smoked paprika
2 t yellow mustard seeds
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t dried saltbush (sub. thyme or oregano)
dried chilli flakes to taste or 1-2 fresh large chillies, minced
4 T tomato paste (low or no salt)
1 x 400 g can tomatoes
2 T brown sugar
2 T worcesteshire sauce
4 T apple cider vinegar
600 g smoked pork bones or 1 ham hock (optional)
salt and pepper
The night before, rinse beans, discarding any grit or discoloured beans and place in a bowl or saucepan with plenty of fresh water to cover. Cover and leave overnight.
The next day, drain the beans, place in a saucepan with some more fresh water, bring to a gentle boil and cook until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients. Place olive oil in a large stockpot or crockpot and sauce onion over moderate heat for a few minutes until it begins to turn translucent. Add the garlic and remaining spices and herbs and cook for a further 5 or so minutes.
Add tomato paste and cook out for a minute or two. Add canned tomatoes, filling the can with water and adding that too, then the sugar, worcestershire and vinegar. Hold off on the seasoning for now. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a low simmer. Add pre-cooked beans and pork bones or hock and cook on a low heat (just simmering) until the sauce has thickened and reduced and the pork is falling off the bones. Note, if using pork bones, tie them in a piece of muslin or a food-safe fine mesh bag before adding to the pot as they may contain very small bones which are difficult to remove after cooking.
Carefully remove the bones or hock and allow to cool slightly. Leave the beans on a low heat. When cool enough to handle, carefully shred the pork from the bones and return it to the pan. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. You may need to add more sugar, vinegar, worcestershire or chilli to get the right balance of salty, sweet, and spicy flavours.
As this makes a lot, you may want to freeze some for later. Allow the beans to cool until they are no longer steaming, then store in the freezer for up to a month. Enjoy any way you like beans! They are pretty good with a poached egg for breakfast.
About The Daughter's Table
The Daughter's Table is a living archive of recipes and stories. It is inspired by my daughter, and the desire to create a food legacy that connects us to what we eat and why.