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Brachán - Porridge

Baby Bear & Porridge Print For Sale
Oats are still a popular food from Sligo in Connaught, north into Ulster and, of course, in Scotland. Oats come in a variety of forms; this recipe is for medium ground oatmeal. Oatmeal is a different product than the now more common oat flakes or rolled oats. In my opinion, oatmeal is a much tastier food, once I had my first bowl of oatmeal in Scotland; it was very hard to go back to using rolled oats. Fortunately, good quality real oatmeal is available in many of the nicer grocery stores and whole food markets. You will find them called Scottish oatmeal or Irish oatmeal. There is also steel cut oats also called pinhead oats which requires considerable preparation.

Oatmeal can be made several different ways, in my household we start them in coldwater and bring them to a gentle simmer. I have also discovered that there are premium brands of milled oat bran that make an excellent substitution for oatmeal. They also make an excellent savory breakfast when served without sugar or honey. I like them with an extra pinch of sea salt, a ¼ cup or walnuts and non sweetened applesauce on top. That and a good cup of tea will make you stand up and do what needs to be done.

The recipe below sent to us by Joe McKane of Ballywatt,
County Antrim, Ireland.

For each serving use:
1 cup water
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/8 teaspoon salt

Bring water to a boil, then add salt. Add oatmeal slowly to boiling water while stirring constantly. Half cover pot, turn heat to low. Stir occasionally until porridge thickens – close to 30 minutes. Add more salt if you wish. Usually eaten with cream/milk & sugar to taste.

The oats were always soaked in the water overnight and a batch was reheated again the following day. By tradition, porridge was served with a pinch of salt. Most people today use sugar to sweeten it now. Porridge was a mainstay in Celtic countries. Today, “quick” rolled oats are available that will cut the preparation time to about three minutes.

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