Emmer porridge in a pot

After reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, I’ve been choosing wheat grains over my preferred indulgences of white bread and rice. Thanks to friends’ suggestions I’ve tried wheat berries for the first time a few weeks ago and, more recently, local emmer grain, sold by the Flour City Pasta folks (who also make an emmer pasta) at the CNY Regional Market.

Emmer from Flour City -- only $5

So what is emmer? Although it’s an ancient grain still popular in Tuscany, I hadn’t heard of it until I read the most recent issue of Edible Finger Lakes. According to them, emmer is a low-yield crop that’s easy to grow in CNY but difficult to process, which is why we don’t see it offered at scale. The Flour City fellas recommended an overnight soak because the kernel is so tough. After soaking a batch, I noticed several leftover husks had floated to the top, proof that processing isn’t neat and clean. Folks argue that extra effort is worth it and I agree; emmer is more tasty than other grains and supposedly has more protein. I haven’t tried many recipes with it, but I’ve been tweaking a brown rice porridge recipe I found on allrecipes.com. Best of all? The kiddo likes it. Makes me want to try other porridges.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked emmer (soak emmer overnight)
  • 1 cup milk or plain soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons dried raisins (or other dried fruit)
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon NYS grade A amber maple syrup, agave, or honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. Combine the cooked emmer, milk, raisins, cinnamon, and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Beat the egg and temper it by whisking in some of the hot emmer, a tablespoon at a time until you have incorporated about 6 tablespoons.
  3. Stir the egg into the emmer with the vanilla and butter, and continue cooking over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken.
Not the best image, but here's the end result.