CHRISTMAS RICE PORRIDGE
Traditional Finnish Christmas dish
The most essential aspect in cooking porridges is the way they are simmered. In Finnish stores there are special saucepans and pots available for simmering porridges only.
Simmering should be done very slowly, using the lowest heat possible. This yields the best result: a velvety smooth porridge which is neither too thick nor watery. It should be just pourable in consistency, not stiff or lumpy.
300 ml water
150 ml short grain rice
700 ml whole milk
400 ml fresh or frozen bilberries
200 ml water
100 - 150 ml sugar
Use a special porridge saucepan or a saucepan with an extra thick bottom to prevent the porridge from burning on the bottom.
Bring water to the boil in the saucepan. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until
water is wholly absorbed in it. Add the milk and bring the mixture to the boil again, stirring frequently.
Lower the heat to minimum, cover the pan with lid and simmer for about 40 to 60 minutes, or until the rice and milk have thickened into a soft-textured, velvety smooth porridge.
Stir every now and then to prevent the porridge from burning on the bottom or forming a skin on the surface. Season with a little salt, sugar
and a pat of butter.
To make the bilberry compote, pour the bilberries, water and sugar in a saucepan.
Bring the mixture slowly to the boil, crushing the berries
with a spoon or a pounder. Cook the mixture for a few minutes, then strain it through a fine sieve. Store covered in refrigerator.
Serve the rice porridge piping hot, topped with a pat of butter and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon (see the picture below), or with cold or warmed bilberry compote (see the picture above).
Note: if eating bilberries for the first time, you should be aware of the fact that they will stain your mouth and teeth purplish-blue, though not permanently!
In Finland rice porridge is traditionally served at Christmas time. One scalded almond can
be "hidden" in the porridge pot and whoever gets it on his/her plate will "have good fortune".
Recipe source: family recipe/traditional Finnish recipe.