Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited out to the Clif Family Winery for a bikeride through Napa valley with a few of their team members, including Clif Family’s fantastic Executive Chef John McConnell. Before the ride, John prepared a wonderful breakfast for our small group including this eye opening brown rice porridge. I was out of my seat after one bite to ask him exactly how it’s made, and he generously shared the many details on how this dish comes together, plus why it’s a great choice for a pre-ride breakfast.
Brown rice can easily be ground up, using a hand-grinder in the case of Clif Family or a Vitamix in the case of FtAK, and then cooked more or less like polenta. John described his slow-cooking process for the pulverized grains, and then shared how the dish is finished with a bit of olive oil and maple syrup, plus toasted sesame seeds.
In trying my hand at this recipe this week, I used an abbreviated polenta-type approach and found that John’s analogy to was spot on. As fundamental a food as polenta has historically been, it’s not something I’ve worked much with until recently. I still triple check the recipes. But for those who have familiarity with polenta and/or cream of wheat, this will be old hat. Creating this brown rice porridge, I was reminded of the frigid school mornings in New Jersey when a delicious, steaming bowl of cream of wheat awaited my arrival at the breakfast counter. Frigid is not quite an applicable term here in San Francisco, but the mornings are chilly and I’m glad to bring this version into the fold.
This porridge is nutritious and filling yet manages to be both delicious and light and easy on the stomach. (For those maintaining specific diets, it is gluten and refined-sugar free.) Not only is the brown rice loaded with minerals, it has a high fiber content which helps with long term satiation, in part due to better managed blood sugar levels. The olive oil aids with satiation too, thanks to its healthy fats. And the combination of the sweet and savory makes this highly crave-able, hence my attempt this week. I am thrilled to call this a success, even if it is not quite as sublime as John’s out at Clif Family!
Sweet & Savory Brown Rice Porridge
Hands-On Time: 10 – 15 minutes
Special Equipment: Blender, Dutch Oven or glazed cast iron pot with cover.
- 1/2 Cup Short-Grain Brown Rice, uncooked
- Olive Oil
- Maple Syrup
- 1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds, toasted
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 Degrees F.
- Set 2 cups of salted water in the Dutch Oven over med-high heat to bring to a boil
- Meanwhile, grind the brown rice in the blender, first on a low setting, then higher. The finished product should be medium-fine (vs dusty).
- Gradually add the ground brown rice to the boiling water, whisking to prevent clumps. Once fully incorporated, cover, and place in the oven for ten minutes.
- Remove from oven and whisk to remove any clumps. Season with a pinch of salt, and approximately 1 Tbsp Olive Oil, replace the cover, and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve garnished with a drizzle of oil, maple syrup, toasted sunflower seeds, plus any fruit you may like.