Quinoa Porridge with Grilled Tomatoes and Garlic

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I could eat this savory porridge everyday. Between the quinoa, rich in vegetable stock (and butter!), the rich flavor of blistered  cherry tomatoes, bright herbs, salty feta cheese tang, and crispy, fried garlic, this dish gives me everything in umami flavors, and diverse textures. I originally made this dish for a quick dinner, but I gladly ate it again for breakfast the next day, and then later for lunch…

Taken from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More, but with a substitution of parsley and cilantro (because that’s what I had) for his mint. You can make thicken or thin this porridge to your liking simply by adjusting the amount of vegetable broth. Don’t skim on the oil or the butter – this dish needs fat to really make it sing!

Serves 4

  • 1½ cups quinoa
  • about 4 2/3 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 3½ oz  crumbled into ¾-inch/2-cm chunks
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 8 oz baby plum tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • salt and black pepper

Herb oil

  • 1 green chile, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ½ cup mint leaves ( I used cilantro, instead)
  • 7 tbsp olive oil
  • salt

Preparation

1. To make the herb oil, place the chile, parsley, mint, oil, and ½ teaspoon salt in the bowl of a small food processor and process to form a smooth sauce with a thick pouring consistency.

2. Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan, add the stock, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and cook gently, uncovered, for about25 minutes, stirring from time to time, until a porridge-like consistency is formed. You might need to add a bit more stock if the quinoa is sticking to the pan. At the very end, fold in the butter until it melts, followed by the parsley and then the feta, making sure the feta stays in chunks.

3. While the quinoa is cooking, place a large sauté pan over high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice so that all sides get some good charred color. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, so that it turns golden brown without burning. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with¼ teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Chop the mint and fold it into the tomatoes just before serving, as it will start to blacken once chopped.

4. Spoon the warm quinoa porridge into shallow bowls, top with the tomatoes, finish with a drizzle of the herb oil, and serve at once.

Breakfast Bulgar Upma

upma

I love savory breakfast foods. On Philadelphia’s first snowing morning this winter, I wanted a warm, heating porridge, and found a great option in Whole Grains for a New Generation. Upma is a spicy Indian mush – but don’t let that dull description fool you! This breakfast porridge had loads of texture, and bold flavors.

I had no teff in the pantry, but substituted some bulgar, which is made from the farro grain. I fried the onion, garlic and spices first, then added the grains, an additional half cup of tomato sauce, and some salt, and this rich, spicy porridge was finished in 20 minutes. I topped mine with some greek yogurt, but a soft boiled egg, and scallions would be wonderful, as well, as would the addition of some homemade Indian lemon pickle. As the original recipe suggests, you could also use teff, farina, or any type of cracked whole wheat grain, and I suspect that polenta would also be wonderful.

Breakfast Bulgar Upma

1 Tbs. Canola Oil

1 small onion, or 2 shallots, diced

2 cloves of garlic

1 fresh red or green chili (or one hot, red dried chili)

1 tsp. crushed chili sauce

1/2 tsp. dried ginger or 1 tsp. fresh, minced

10 dried or fresh curry leaves

1 tsp. brown mustard seeds

1/2 tsp. ground cayenne  or  other chili powder

1 tsp. hot curry powder

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup raw bulgar

1.5 cups water

Heat the oil in a nice large saucepan dutch oven. Add the chopped onion and garlic, and saute on medium just until it begins to brown. Toss in the dried spices, stirring, until they release fragrance (about 10 seconds) then add the tomato and chili sauces, stirring well. Add the bulgar, salt, and water, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the bulgar is soft, but still toothsome, and your porridge has reached a thick consistency. Top with yogurt, fresh herbs, soft eggs, or fried shallots.