Since we have been highlighting exotic Norwegian food, here is another classic. Risengrynsgrøt is a long name for a very simple dinner option, perfect for cold weather. Rome is still really hot and sticky, so this may be a bit premature…. This is rice porridge, like a thick congee or rice pudding – but served warm for dinner, often on Saturdays. Porridge rice is another food item I usually bring from Norway, but with a kilo or so stockpiled here, I am trying to use up what I have. It is a white, medium grain rice which must be imported to Norway, though from where? Anyway, risotto rice or English pudding rice should work as well.
Risengrynsgrøt (Norwegian rice porridge)
4 dl water
2 dl porridge rice (a white, medium grain rice)
1/4 tsp salt
1 litre semi-skimmed milk
For serving: butter, cinnamon and sugar.
To drink: Red cordial with water.
Bring water to a boil with rice, and let it simmer for ten minutes or until most of the water is absorbed. Add milk and bring to a boil, continually stirring. Then turn the heat to its lowest setting, and let the grøt slowly cook for 45-60 minutes, depending on the rice you use. In Norway you can get five-minute porridge rice, very convenient. However, the 50 minute rice gives much nicer porridge, and that is what I used here. Stir from time to time to make sure it doesn’t burn, it neds less attention and stirring than a risotto. The rice and milk will thicken nicely. Add more milk if needed. Add salt (important for taste! You will notice if the salt is not there.) When ready to eat, serve with cinnamon, sugar and finally: a teaspoon or so of butter. This is the smørøye, the “butter eye”.
That “butter eye” is delicious, and there is even an expression in Norwegian: å være midt i smørøyet, which means “to be in the middle of the butter melting in the porridge”. It means to be in a very favourable place or situation. Now I wonder what the Italian equivalent of culinary-illustrated state of bliss would be…..? Surely there is one.
From a local train in Norway a couple weeks ago. Pram, something….bicycle….. It took me a moment to work out what the middle sign was for. Can you see? It is skis and poles! Of course the train has a built-in ski rack!
Normally you would mix leftover rice porridge with whipped cream to make riskrem, especally on Christmas Eve. Often with a blanched almond hidden inside, and whoever finds the almond wins a small marzipan pig. But Christmas is many months away, and we fancied pancakes, so that is what we made here the next day. It is easy enough to make a generous portion of rice porridge, to have some for lapper the next day. Norwegian pancakes are thin, but these are smaller and thicker. You could easily make this with leftover oatmeal porridge as well, you just need eggs and flour to bind it together.
Risgrøt lapper (pancakes)
400g leftover rice porridge
2 eggs, beaten
55g flour (1 desilitre)
10g sugar (1 tbs)
A little butter for frying
For serving: jam or sugar