Kornmjölsgröt: Barley Porridge with Red Lager

Cooking with Beer by | Jan 2016 | Issue #108
Photo by Sean Z. Paxton

Translated from Swedish, Kornmjölsgröt is barley porridge. There are several different versions of this breakfast treat and this is mine. I love a good hardy breakfast, full of textures, flavors and something that sticks with you until the next meal. Toasting the pearl barley first adds a wonderful nutty element that enhances the overall flavor, especially when mixed with Simpsons Malting Co. Double Roasted Crystal malt, cooked in a Red Lager and thickened with barley flour.

This oat porridge alternative can be eaten as is or served with various toppings, like a Sour Cream Maple Sauce or a Honey-flavored Whipping Cream with tart dried cherries and cacao nibs, creating a smörgåsbord of choices.

Serves: 4 guests

Toasted Barley Porridge
1 1/2 cups pearl barley (outside husk removed)
1/4 cup malted barley, cracked, such as Simpson’s DRC (Double Roasted Crystal)
1/2 tsp salt
12 oz Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. Danish Red Lager
6–7 cups water
1/4 cup barley flour

In a large pot over medium heat, add the pearl barley (barley with the bran removed and polished). Using a spatula, toast the barley for 6–7 minutes, until it’s turned a darker shade of brown and releases a toasted popcorn aroma. It’s important to stir the grain frequently to toast evenly on all sides. Add the salt and cracked Double Roasted Crystal Malt (available online or at most homebrew stores) and then the Danish Red Lager, along with the water. Adding more water will create a softer barley grain, less water will create a chewier texture. Bring the liquid to a boil, then adjust the heat to create a low simmer.

Set a timer and after 40–45 minutes check to see if the barley has the desired texture. Then add the barley flour. If you can’t find it in your grocery store, place 1/3 cup of pearl barley into a clean coffee/spice grinder and pulse into a fine flour. Add this to the pot, stirring to combine. Cook the porridge another 5–8 minutes to thicken. Turn off the heat and serve.

Sour Cream Maple Sauce
2/3 cup sour cream or crème fraîche
2 tbsp BLiS Maple Syrup (vanilla bean-infused or bourbon barrel-aged)

Measure out the sour cream or crème fraîche and add the BLiS maple syrup. The version infused with Tahitian vanilla bean is a decadent maple syrup with a robust vanilla flavor. If you cannot find it or the bourbon barrel-aged syrup, you can use grade B maple syrup and add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of bourbon to re-create the flavor. Mix the maple syrup into the cream and set aside.

This will last a week in the refrigerator and is wonderful served over Kornmjölsgröt, Swedish pancakes, or crepes.

Honey Flavored Whipping Cream
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 tbsp honey, local variety

Since the Vikings did not have access to refined sugar, honey was the sweetener of choice. Add the whipping cream to a metal bowl and drizzle in the honey. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Optional Toppings
1/2 cup dried cherries or another dried fruit
1/4 cup cacao nibs, cracked
1/4 cup walnuts or hazelnuts