I survived (or should I say “I am surviving”) the holidays! This year’s agenda included 7 Christmas gatherings, cooking for many of those gatherings, and eating too much at all of them.
Now that Christmas is over and we received our first substantial coating of snow, I’ve been relaxing a bit and eating all the vegetables to make up for the carb over-consumption. The last of the holiday madness ramps up on Thursday as we head to Madison to visit family for New Year’s Eve. And on Sunday evening, you’ll find us freezing our behinds off at one of the most epic border battles in the NFL. If you happen to be watching, look for 2 shivering Minnesotans decked out in purple and gold in a sea of Packer fans.
Any tips for a cold weather outdoor football game newbie? Got the hand and foot warmers. Still looking for a parka puffer coat. And I’m thinking a thermos of something warm is a good idea. If I could take this Cranberry Hazelnut Wild Rice porridge to the football game, I totally would. Even though it’s more of a breakfast dish, this porridge is a filling, stick-to-your-bones meal that would, no doubt, keep me warm and occupied when the Vikings are losing horribly.
The inspiration for this dish comes from a wonderful night out on the town with my mom. In November, we saw Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and it was everything I dreamed it would be and more. This was an extra special evening for my mom and me as we both, at one point in our lives, fell in love with the Tapestry album. She, of course, had the vinyl record from 1978, and I stole intentionally acquired the CD she purchased 25 years later. Right along with ‘N Sync and Jessica Simpson, oddly, I associate this album with my high school years.
If you have the opportunity to see this musical, I highly recommend it. From the passionate and humble piano intro of “So Far Away” to the series of Motown performances showcasing the timeless pop hits she and her husband co-wrote, this musical celebrates Carole King’s life and work and it’s quite simply, beautiful!
But, back to the recipe! Sorry, I tend to go off on tangents when it comes to my fave music. Before the musical, we grabbed a bite to eat at Hell’s Kitchen. While it wasn’t one of those remarkable meals you’ll remember forever, I was quite impressed with their wild rice porridge. It was sweetened with maple syrup and thickened with heavy cream with plenty of hazelnuts and dried fruit to add texture and flavor.
This recipe is still rich, hearty, and amazingly sweet, but uses almond milk for a lightened up version. First, whip up a big batch of wild rice. Use some for this dish and save some for wild rice soup or meatballs. Then, bring the milk, spices, and cornstarch to a boil and simmer until thick. Add the rice, hazelnuts, and cranberries and stir until all the flavors are happily married in the pan. Serve warm with extra cranberries and nuts and a drizzle of maple syrup on top!
This porridge would make a great New Year’s Day breakfast! Start 2016 off right and recover from the previous night’s festivities with a unique, hearty, and HEALTHY dish!
Speaking of New Year’s Day breakfast recipes, check out my recipe for Bacon, Cranberry, and Brie Popovers over on the SoFabFood blog. If you’ve never experienced the airy, tender, and doughy goodness of a popover, you need to try this recipe! Here’s sneak peek:
- 3 ½ cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any nondairy milk)
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ tablespoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 ½ tablespoons corn starch
- 4 cups cooked wild rice
- ½ cup dried cranberries (plus more for topping)
- ⅓ cup chopped and toasted hazelnuts (plus more for topping)
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the almond milk, maple syrup, almond and vanilla extracts, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Once the mixture is heated, whisk in the corn starch. Bring the mixture to a boil and then to a simmer while continuously whisking for 4-5 minutes until the mixture thickens a bit.
- Add in the wild rice, dried cranberries, and hazelnuts. Stir until combined and heated through.
Nutrition Information (per serving) from Caloriecount.about.com
Calories: 218 Fat: 4.7g Carb: 39.2g Fiber: 3.6g Protein: 5.6g Sugar 9.8g Sodium: 110mg