culinary review

Swedish Rice Porridge (Risgrynsgröt)

Last Modified: 12/18/12
First Published: 10/19/07
Views: 17498
Views: 17498

Rice porridge is a traditional Scandinavian dish which is served around Christmas time.rice_porridge The porridge is either served for breakfast, or a meal anytime, or it turns into a delicious dessert such as Ris a la Malta. However, the most common way to enjoy rice porridge is with cinnamon sugar, a little butter and cold milk.

The porridge is velvety smooth, slightly sweet and very good.
You just have to make sure to cook it evenly and not burn it. (Rice porridge has a tendency to burn, so make sure to use a heavy-bottom pot and cook it on very low heat).

In the US. Santa Claus is offered milk and cookies, however in Northern Europe Santa is treated a bowl of rice porridge with cinnamon sugar and milk.

And don’t forget to drop a whole almond into the porridge before your serve it. Whoever gets the almond, will be the next one to marry, or least that’s how the saying goes…

rice rice_porridge rice_porridge

Swedish Rice Porridge (Risgrynsgröt)


  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup rice (short-grain rice such as pearl rice or arborio rice)
  • 4 1/3 cups milk
  • cinnamon stick
  • (1 tablespoon sugar)


Bring up to the water to a boil in a heavy pot with salt, butter and a cinnamon stick. Add the rice, cover and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

Add the milk, and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to your lowest setting, cover with a lid and cook for about 30 minutes. Preferably don’t stir until the porridge is ready. Add sugar to taste.

Summer Lemon Barley Salad with Blue Cheese, Leeks & Tomatoes

Last Modified: 09/08/10
First Published: 06/25/10
Views: 512
Views: 512
barley salad

This type of salad is just perfect to serve in the summer next to a piece of grilled meat, chicken, fish etc... Often we make substantial salads with pasta, couscous or potatoes, however to use pearl barley is a great way to mix things up a bit. Here we cook barley until it's soft, then we soak the cooked barley in a lemon oil citronette a good 15 minutes before adding some vegetables and cheese. The result is a very nutty, fresh and simply delicious salad which would be ideal to serve warm, room temperature or cold, it's your choice. This barley salad is also great to make in advance if you're having guests come over and then just take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving.


4-6 servings


  • 1 ½ cups pearl barley
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ½ red onion
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 wedge of blue cheese, crumbled
  • fresh parsley, chopped


Cook the barley in plenty of water until it's soft and cooked through, about 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice and zest, with honey, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper. When the barley is cooked, drain it and immediately pour it into a large bowl with the dressing. Mix everything well, and cover with foil. Let sit at least 15 minutes to soak up all the flavors.

Meanwhile, clean and slice the leeks, chop the red onion. Saute in a pan with olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add some salt, then add the sliced cherry tomatoes and cook in the pan for another couple of minutes.

Add all the onions and tomatoes to the bowl with the barley. Mix well, then add crumbled blue cheese and fresh parsley and add plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Barley Risotto with Mushrooms, Swiss Chard & Asiago Cheese

Last Modified: 06/01/10
First Published: 05/31/10
Views: 808
Views: 808
barley risotto
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measurement conversions
General Info
Servings: 4
Total Cost: $9.46
Cost Per Serving: $2.37
Total Calories: 2,552
Calories/Serving: 638
Butter, Salted 2 Tablespoons 28.00 Grams $0.13 200
Barley, Pearl 2 Cups 400.00 Grams $0.44 1,408
Onion, Yellow Diced 1 Cup 160.00 Grams $0.35 67
Vermouth, Dry, Generic 750 ml Bottle 1/2 Cup 112.00 Grams $1.12 220
Bouillon Cubes, Vegetable (3 cubes) * 30.00 Grams $0.65 90
Water 6 Cups 1,362.00 Grams $0.00 0
Butter, Salted (for the mushrooms) 2 Tablespoons 28.00 Grams $0.13 200
Mushrooms, Button * 1.00 Pound $3.00 73
Cheese, Asiago (grated) * 2.00 Ounces $1.62 220
Garlic (2 cloves) 2 Teaspoons 5.67 Grams $0.03 8
Swiss Chard (1 bunch) * 12.00 Ounces $2.01 66

Barley risotto is a wonderful alternative to regular risotto: it feels a bit more substantial, it's hearty and it's delicious. Of course you can vary this dish endlessly, however here we have used mushrooms and swiss chard along with some cheese.

Peal barley definitely takes longer to cook than rice, however if you want to hurry up the process you could always soak the barley for a couple of hours in advance, then it won't take as long to cook.


Heat up the water and the boullion cubes in a pot. In a separate pot, saute the onion in 2 tablespoons of butter for about 10 minutes. At this point add the garlic and pearl barley. Sautee for a few minutes, then add the vermouth. Let simmer for a minute, then add 2 ladles of the hot boullion. Stir, and cover the pot with a lid. After about 10 minutes, come back, add more broth and continue to simmer. This process will take about 40 minutes before the barley is cooked throuh.

In a separate pan saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter. Let the mushrooms brown properly, then set aside.

Clean the chard, remove the stem and chop up. Grate the cheese.

When the barley is cooked through, add the chard and the browned mushrooms. Let cook on the stove for about 5 minutes. At this point, add the grated cheese and some extra black pepper and serve.

Fried Polenta Crutons

Last Modified: 05/12/10
First Published: 05/12/10
Views: 607
Views: 607

polenta crutons

If you have polenta leftovers from the day before, or if you would just like to try something a bit different, then polenta croutons would be nice to make. If you're a bit tired of regular old bread crumbs, then using polenta will definitely provide a different experience. You could either fry these in a pan on the stove, or you could bake / broil them in the oven if you don't feel like standing by stove, or if you're cooking for a lot of people. These won't turn out crispy like ordinary bread croutons, however they will be delicious nonetheless.


The most important thing here, is first of all to let any leftover polenta you might have set in a wide pan so you don't get one big chunk (if that was the case, then you could always slice it, however that would be a bit more work). This should be done before it cools ideally. Then when you're ready to make the croutons (next day or two hours after the polenta was made), simply turn the pan on a cutting board, and cut bite size pieces.

On the stove:
Heat up a cast iron pan and add plenty of butter and oil. Place the polenta pieces in the pan and let cook for a couple of minutes on each side. If you want some garlic, then add that at the last minute to the pan and cook along with the polenta. Remove the croutons from the pan and set on paper towels to drain.

In the oven:
Put the oven on 450 degrees or use the broiler. Distribute the polenta pieces on a sheet pan. Drizzle some olive oil on top of the pieces, and bake high up in the oven for 1-2 minutes, then take the pan out, turn the pieces and do another 1-2 minutes, depending on how quickly they are browning.

Serve on top of a salad, on top of a soup, or just next to a piece of meat of fish.

Sauteed Risotto Cakes

Last Modified: 05/12/10
First Published: 05/12/10
Views: 592
Views: 592

risotto cakes


This is a great little dish to make if you have leftover risotto. In fact, it's so good it's worth it to make extra risotto just to have leftovers! You can either make these quite small and serve them as an appetizer or tapas dish, or you can make them larger and serve them alongside a piece of meat or fish for dinner. Here we made them plain, however if you want to make them even more tasty, then you should definitely put a piece of cheese in the middle of each cake or ball before your roll it in breadcrumbs (you could really use any type of cheese here, however blue cheese, goat cheese or feta would be great.) That way, each little risotto ball will have a nice surprise in the middle.

These are great to eat just like they are, however you can also dip them in marinara sauce if you want some more flavor.

  • leftover risotto (this seafood risotto would be a good option)
  • breadcrumbs (Panko would be great, however regular works fine too)
  • butter and oil

With washed hands, scoop an appropriate amount of risotto in your hands and form a tight ball or cake (the size depends on how big you want these bites). Roll the piece in breadcrumbs, repeat with the rest of the risotto. Then sautee the cakes in a non stick pan with plenty of butter and a bit of oil. Serve immediately or serve room temperature.

Seafood Risotto with Leeks & Sauteed Scallops

Last Modified: 05/10/10
First Published: 05/10/10
Views: 709
Views: 709


To make a simple risotto and top it with some sauteed seafood such as scallops or shrimp is a great idea if you're looking for an easy to make, delicious and elegant main dish. Risotto or course is easy to vary and you can really add whatever you have in the fridge if you think it would fit. Here we have used some shrimp broth (cubed bullion in water works great, however if you have the real thing on hand, then by all means use that!), along with white wine and Arborio rice which really makes the risotto great. In traditional Italian kitchens they don't serve cheese with seafood, however we think that some sharp cheese adds a lot of flavor, so we're going a bit outside of traditions.

4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 leeks, washed carefully and cut up
  • 2 cups of Arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • about 6 cups of shrimp or seafood broth
  • 1 cup grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • about 12 large scallops (or equivalent amount of shrimp or other seafood)
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • some chopped herbs like basil and parsley


Heat up the broth slowly in a pot. In a separate pot, add the butter and saute the leeks for about 10 minutes. At this point add the rice, saute for a couple of more minutes, then add the wine and let cook for a few more minutes. Now gradually add a ladle or two of the broth, let the rice absorb it, stir and then add some more. This should take about 15-20 minutes.

When the risotto is basically done, heat up a skillet and add the 2 tablespoons of butter. Carefully place the paper towel dried scallops (or shrimp), add salt and pepper and let cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side on high heat, depending on the size. When they are cooked, add some freshly squeezed lemon juice in the pan.

Add the cheese to the risotto, stir well. Then serve the risotto topped with a couple of scallops on each plate. Add some chopped herbs and serve with a glass of white wine and crusty bread.

Sauteed Rice in Chicken Fat

Last Modified: 11/01/09
First Published: 11/01/09
Views: 704
Views: 704

Long Grain White Rice Sauteed in Chicken Fat with Onions

If you are tired of making boring white long-grain rice like we were then you might like this flavorful version using chicken fat and white wine. The method we used is similar to that which you would use to make a risotto but with normal white rice. It will not be creamy like a risotto but it will have as much flavor.

We started this process because we were frying chicken thighs and wanted to save a few dishes so using the same 12 inch fry pan made the rice taste better and we did not have to use a sauce pot seperately.

After frying the chicken there was a lot of fat, we removed all but about 3 tablespoons of chicken fat and then sauteed 1 large yellow onion with a small dice. Add a little kosher salt (1 teaspoon) and cook for a few minutes on medium-high heat. The chicken left a great fond and the onions picked that up great. We then deglazed with a little white wine and covered for a few minutes.

We then added 1 cup of standard white long-grain rice. We never use instant so that is not an option, it will not come out the same.

Mix the onions, wine and fat with the rice. The rice will begin to pick up all the flavor as it cooks. Add about 1 cup of water, or chicken stock and stir. Cover for about 10 minutes and stir again. We added a little more white wine along the way and just looked to see if more water was needed. This will take about 30 minutes. Just add more liquid as necessary. After 30 minutes we added about 3 cups of liquid. This process requires more liquid than if you just used a pot and added 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice.

The point is that you should taste the rice along the way, see how much more liquid you need and choose any spices you want. Basically the chicken fat and the fond from the pan adds a lot of flavor that a pot would not give.

You could always add frozen peas or carrots at the end and make it a meal. We always love to add hot sausage and cheese. But then it might be too much like a risotto.

Barley Risotto with Spinach, Asparagus and Blue Cheese

Last Modified: 03/29/09
First Published: 03/29/09
Views: 1315
Views: 1315
barley risotto
click on any ingredient
for more information, including
measurement conversions
General Info
Servings: 6
Total Cost: $11.61
Cost Per Serving: $1.94
Total Calories: 2,637
Calories/Serving: 439
Barley, Pearl 2 Cups 400.00 Grams $0.44 1,408
Butter, Unsalted 2 Tablespoons 28.00 Grams $0.13 200
Onion, Yellow Diced (medium) 1 Cup 160.00 Grams $0.35 67
Vermouth, Dry, Generic 750 ml Bottle 1/2 Cup 112.00 Grams $1.12 220
Chicken Broth (or 3 bullion cubes and water) 6 1/2 Cups 1,579.50 Grams $0.70 78
Spinach, Frozen * 1.00 Pound $1.52 107
Danish Blue * 4.00 Ounces $1.99 446
Lemon, Whole (medium) * 100.00 Grams $0.37 20
Asparagus * 1.00 Pound $4.98 91
To make a barley risotto is a great alternative to making regular rice risotto. Apart from featuring more nutrition and substance than white rice, barley also provides a wonderful, chewy texture that works very well in a risotto dish. Barley is a great staple item that isn’t being used nearly enough: it’s very cheap, it’s healthy and it’s delicious and hearty, if cooked correctly. This recipe can be varied endlessly by changing the vegetables, adding a little meat or using a different cheese – barley works perfectly with most ingredients, just like rice.

4-6 servings

2 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cups pearl barley
½ cup dry vermouth
6 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 pack of thawed frozen spinach (240 g)
1 pound asparagus
6 ounces Blue cheese
1 lemon, zest and juice


Heat up the broth in pot. In a separate large pot sauté the chopped onion in butter, until the onion turns translucent. Add the barley and continue to sauté for a couple of minutes to toast the barley slightly. De-glace with the dry vermouth, let simmer for a minute. Then add two ladles of hot broth to the pot, stir, reduce the heat to medium-low and put a lid on. After 5-10 minutes, check the barley, stir and add another ladle or two with broth.

Continue process for 30-40 minutes until the barley is soft but chewy. You might not need to use all the broth, it depends. When the barley is cooked, add the spinach and the cut asparagus. Cook for a minute, then add crumbled cheese and lemon zest as well as lemon juice. Finish off with some freshly ground pepper, and possible add a little salt if necessary.

Serve immediately.

Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto

Last Modified: 12/21/07
First Published: 12/20/07
Views: 5313
Views: 5313
click on any ingredient
for more information, including
measurement conversions
General Info
Servings: 4
Total Cost: $9.19
Cost Per Serving: $2.30
Total Calories: 2,854
Calories/Serving: 713
Butter, Unsalted 6 Tablespoons 84.00 Grams $0.38 600
Squash, Butternut * 2.50 Pounds $1.97 510
Onion, Yellow Diced 1/2 Cup 80.00 Grams $0.18 34
Garlic 2 Tablespoons 17.00 Grams $0.08 25
Thyme, Dried 1 Teaspoon 1.40 Grams $0.37 4
Arborio Rice 1 1/2 Cup 270.00 Grams $0.90 960
Vermouth, Dry, Generic 750 ml Bottle 1/2 Cup 112.00 Grams $1.12 220
Chicken Broth, Canned 6 Cups 1,470.00 Grams $3.00 180
Parmesan cheese 1/2 Cup 50.00 Grams $1.03 216
Heavy Whipping Cream 36% 2 Tablespoons 30.00 Grams $0.14 100
Salt, Table 1 Teaspoon 6.00 Grams $0.01 0
Black Pepper, Ground 1 Teaspoon 2.13 Grams $0.02 5

Butternut squash is an excellent vegetable to utilize for a risotto. It is slightly sweet and it has a goodbutternut_squash_risottto flavor. There are various ways one can go about making risotto with butternut squash; you can either cook the squash first (by roasting, steaming or boiling it) or you can cook the squash as you make the risotto. We have found that by adding the raw squash in the beginning of the cooking process, the dish becomes sweeter and the flavor more incorporated. It is also quicker to do it this method, as the squash needs to cook for quite a while in the oven to get soft. Just make sure to cut the squash in small enough pieces.


Heat the broth up. In a separate pot, sauté the butternut squash andbutternut_squash_risotto the onion in 3 tablespoons of butter for a few minutes until the squash begins to soften. Add the garlic and the thyme, de-glaze the pan with the dried Vermouth. Add the Arborio rice and sauté for a few minutes.

Slowly, start adding the hot broth, one ladle at a time. Make sure that the liquid is almost completely incorporated before adding another ladle. This should take about 30 minutes. When the risotto is done, add the additional 3 tablespoons butter, the Parmesan cheese and the cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Creamy Risotto with Sausage, Broccoli and Peas

Last Modified: 11/26/07
First Published: 11/26/07
Views: 1470
Views: 1470

Creamy, flavorful and quite easy to make, this risotto is perfect to serve on a cold night. Sausage,risotto peas and broccoli provide nice flavor and texture, and traditional wine, broth and cheese perfects the dish.

About 6 servings


  • 6 cups broth
  • 1 pound sausage, casings removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 pound frozen peas (about 3 cups)
  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut in small pieces
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
sausagerice ristotto


Heat the broth up in a pot.

In a separate pot, sauté the sausage until cooked through, remove from the pan and drain on some paper towels. In the same pot, add some olive oil and sauté the onion for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and the rice, continue to sauté until the rice is translucent, about 6-8 minutes.

Add the wine and cook until the wine has completely been absorbed. Then start adding the broth, one ladle at a time. Wait with adding another ladle until the liquid has been absorbed.


Stir continuously (you don’t have to stir constantly but quite often) and continue to add broth until the risotto reaches an al-dente stage.

At this point, add the sausage, the frozen peas and the broccoli to the pot, put on a lid, lower the heat and let sit for a couple of minutes in order to soften the broccoli and thaw the peas.

After about 5 minutes, remove the pot completely from the heat and add the Parmesan cheese and some freshly ground pepper. Serve with addition Parmesan cheese.