Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Porridge of Steel Cut Oats, Black Currants, Sun Dried Mango and Walnuts

     Tasty Porridge For A Winter Day!
     Every country around the globe that harvests grain of any kind has porridge in their cuisine.  Nearly any kind of grain can be used to make porridge, including rice.  
     In Ireland and Scotland, steel cut oats are traditionally used to make porridge.  Steel cut oats are groats.  Groats are the inner portion of an oat kernel.  Steel cut oats are are groats that have been cut into small pieces.  Steel cut oats are not like rolled oats.  Rolled oats require only a short cooking time and they are usually referred to as oatmeal when they are prepared as porridge.  
     Steel cut oats require a much longer cooking time than rolled oats.  Even after simmering in a pot for a long time, steel cut oats can still have a firm texture.  They also have a nutty kind of flavor.  Because steel cut oats do not easily turn into a pasty mush when simmered, they are perfect for making a rustic style porridge.

     There are many traditional Irish and Scottish steel cut oats porridge recipes.  I chose to create a nice flavor for today's steel cut oats porridge recipe with ingredients that on hand.  I live in Las Vegas and this city is in the middle of an arid desert, so just like home kitchens in the Sahara and the Middle East, my cabinets are stocked with many dried nuts, fruits, mushrooms, grains, herbs and spices.  Dried staples do not last long in a tropical humid climate, but they sure do keep well in the arid desert air.  I honestly have dried fruits that have been stowed for a year and they look as new as the day that they were purchased.  

     Dried mango really keeps well in an arid climate.  The mango flavor actually becomes more intense when mango is dried.  Dried mango becomes soft when boiled and it leaves plenty of color and flavor in the water.  Dried mango is a good choice for flavoring porridge, even though very few cooks think of using it for that purpose.

     In Europe and America, brown sugar is often used to flavor oatmeal or steel cut oats porridge.  Brown sugar and oats is a flavor combination that is hard to beat, because it provides a warm satisfying rich flavor that is perfect for a cold day!

     Porridge of Steel Cut Oats, Black Currants, Sun Dried Mango and Walnuts:
     This recipe yields 1 large serving!
     Step 1:  Boil 3 cups of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 2 to 3 ounces of sun dried mango slices.
     Boil till the mango slices start to become tender.
     Step 2:  Remove the mango slices from the boiling liquid and place them on a cutting board.  Leave the boiling liquid on the heat.
     Cut the mango slices into short thin strips and set them aside.
     Step 3:  Add 1 1/4 cups of steel cut oats to the pot of boiling mango liquid in the pot.
     After the liquid returns to a boil, reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Step 4:  Add the reserved mango strips.
     Add 2 tablespoons of black currants.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 very small pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1 pinch of nutmeg.
     Add 1 pinch of cinnamon.
     Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of brown sugar.  (to taste)
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Step 5:  Gently simmer the porridge.  Add water as necessary, but allow the porridge to reduce and thicken to a medium heavy consistency as the steel cut oats become tender.
     Step 6:  Add 1/2 cup of milk.
     Simmer the porridge till it reduces to a medium heavy consistency.
     Step 7:  Ladle the porridge into a deep serving bowl.
     Try to expose a few pieces of the mango and black currants on the surface.
     Sprinkle some coarsely chopped walnuts over the porridge.

     This is a nice porridge flavor!

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