Savory, Steel-Cut Summer Porridge with Bacon, Sharp Cheddar, Fresh Tomatoes and Chives

August 13, 2012 in Entrees, Gluten Free

Savory Summer Porridge with Bacon, Sharp Cheddar, Fresh Tomatoes and Chives

I’m blessed to live just a few miles from the actual, bona-fide Bob’s Red Mill store, though I was a fan long before I moved to Portland, thanks to their many excellent gluten-free products.When I heard about their upcoming oatmeal contest, the annual Spar for the Spurtle (whereby they select a representative to enter the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship  in Scotland), I had to at least give it a shot!

Alas, I did not make the finals-  but the results were so tasty I had to share it here anyway. My inspiration came from Southern grits, which were introduced to me by my friend Kimberly. Her Portland food cart, Blues City Biscuits, grows in popularity by the day, and for good reason! While her specialty is creative Southern biscuit combinations, she also serves up other classic fare from the Delta – like shrimp & grits. It was this savory comfort of this dish, completely a new experience for me, that motivated my entry. I ended up omitting the shrimp and sticking with optional bacon topping as the flavor focus, and the other pairings just fell into place from there. See if you don’t have an easy new breakfast fave after trying this.

The final three had their cookoff on Friday, and the winner was Laurie Figone with her Italian Pinhead Torta. Congrats to her and all the best to Bob’s in the Golden Spurtle!


8 slices bacon
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free steel-cut oats
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
about 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped (plus a tablespoon or 2 for garnish)
salt and fresh place pepper to taste
1 heaping cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

In a large skillet, cook bacon in batches, turning frequently, until browned and crisp.  Set aside on a paper towel. While bacon is cooking, bring the milk, water and stock just to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the oats and reduce heat to a high simmer. Cook, stirring regularly, for 20-25 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and oats are tender and cooked through. Stir in shredded cheddar, chives, salt and pepper, and taste for seasoning.

Just before serving, crumble the bacon, stir in the crumbles and top with a generous helping of the cherry tomatoes (even more than in the pic, if you’re anything like me at the height of tomato season) and extra chives. Having some cayenne pepper sauce on the side is strongly advised.

– posted by Anne