We experiment with a lot of foods at the General Store. Our fridge is over-populated with mason jars full of random sauces, stocks, left-over meats, juices, and brines. Most of these things are delicious. Others we hide in the back of the fridge, our secret shame. But we’re always looking for ways to use up the leftover stuff that tastes great! Lately, we’ve taken to the task of making lots of sprouted flour. Now grain is really cheap when purchased in bulk and Dan hates making multiple trips to the co-op, so we tend to buy a whole lot of it at once. This has left us with more grain than we know what to do with.
“What to do with all that grain?” is a question faced by every culture that has cultivated it. The answer, in pretty much every region of the world, was some type of porridge. If a grain was harvested, someone somewhere has made a porridge out of it. And there’s a reason it hasn’t gone away: Porridge is crazy nutritious, cheap, simple to make and has limitless potential to be delicious. While doing some research for this article, we came across a few interesting facts about porridge:
- In the ancient Buddhist “Vinaya” texts porridge holds a special place as a food that Lord Buddha consumed prior to achieving Nirvana. Lord Buddha describes porridge of possessing benefits known as the 5 endurances: Overnight digestion, reduced flatulence, the quenching of thirst, the suppression of hunger and reduced constipation. Interesting that flatulence is posed here as being a stumbling block to Nirvana.
- In old Scottish tradition porridge was stirred with an object called a spurtle usually a stick fashioned from a tree branch. One should always stir their spurtle in a clock-wise direction. To churn counter clock-wise would invoke the presence of the devil and bring on a spell of bad luck.
- It was also a Scottish tradition to eat your porridge standing up and with a bone spoon. Dan has been keeping his eye out for a bone spoon but no luck so far. We imagine suitable bones for spoon-making were more common in the days it was acceptable to harvest them from fallen enemies.
Every traditional culture that ate grains processed them in such a way that maximized their digestibility and nutrient absorption. They achieved this by soaking, sprouting, or otherwise fermenting the grain. Today we’re going to cover a savory porridge made with sprouted kamut wonderful for the most important meal of the day, breakfast.
Savory Sprouted Kamut Breakfast Porridge
It’s nice to have grains on hand that are already sprouted and dehydrated. It allows one to make a “heat of the moment” decision about having porridge for breakfast. The alternative requires the foresight of an overnight soak. We’re not often ones to make important decisions about breakfast without the benefit of a night’s sleep.
We grind our grains in our ever-so-useful Vita-Mix, but a grain mill is even better. The texture of the meal is up to you – a finer grind generates something akin to cream of wheat or polenta, and a coarse grind produces a more grit-like texture. Our Vita-Mix does not always grind evenly, so we sift the ground meal with a fine strainer to separate out the flour from the coarser grit.
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water or stock*
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (buy mineral-rich Celtic sea salt here)
- 1/2 cup sprouted kamut grits (buy kamut berries here)
(*Homemade chicken stock or bone broth instead of water adds wonderful depth of flavor to this dish.)
Bring water or stock and sea salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add kamut and stir with a wooden spoon. Lower heat, cover, and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Add liquid to adjust consistency as desired.
- soft-boiled eggs * : drop eggs into boiling water for 5 minutes 10 seconds. Remove and peel in a cold water bath.
- slow-roasted pork or lamb *
- miso butter * : Blend white shiro miso with unsalted butter to taste.
- cooked kale or collard greens
- raw cheese
- naturally-fermented soy sauce
(* We have swiped these ideas out of David Chang’s Momofuku.)
Since we can’t get enough porridge, tune in next week for another exciting recipe made with soaked grains!
This post was contributed to Fat Tuesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Pennywise Platter, Food Friday, Freaky Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Friday Food Flicks, Foodie Friday and Weekend Gourmet.