Overnight Breakfast: Barley Porridge

Overnight Barley Porridge
One of life's great luxuries is a hot breakfast in the morning. 

But how many of us have or take the time on a weekday to cook something?  I rarely get out the door without having brewed a cup of fresh java first, but rare is the morning where I've given myself even an extra 10 minutes so that I can eat something that requires heat.
Unless you've started breakfast the night before and have let gentle oven temperatures and time work their magic while you sleep.
Overnight breakfasts aren't a new concept.  I remember when I was a kid and there were weekend church services planned one Fall near Seattle.  As is typically during October in Seattle, we had heavy rains and heavy winds which knocked trees down across power lines so the power went out across several counties, meaning there were large areas in the western half of Washington state without any power.  In preparation for a Sunday morning brunch (or maybe it was a Saturday morning brunch?) at the church, the ladies had prepared an Overnight Egg Casserole:  Eggs, ham, cheese and cubed bread with salt, pepper and herbs, soaked overnight in large roasting pans that would be then baked in hot ovens in order to be ready for the arrival of the service guests.
Except...there was no power for the ovens, nor for the church lights, heating, microphones...so church was cancelled.  We didn't let that stop us.  Ours was a big house, and we still had electricity.  We went to the church, brought home pans of overnight breakfast to bake in our oven at home, invited people to stop in, and enjoyed the good company of those who arrived by for a bite to eat.
Overnight Barley Porridge with mixed berries
I hadn't had an overnight breakfast in years, not even the Overnight Egg Dish.  Then one weekend, J and I had brunch at the Klaus K hotel in Helsinki, and one of the items on offer was Barley Porridge or ohrapuuro, which they said had been lovingly baked overnight in the oven at 80°C.  It was warm, creamy, with just a slight firmness and chewiness to the pearl barley.  It smelled of warm milk and was topped with forest berries that had been frozen during the summer, and then thawed overnight in order to be served with our breakfast.  On a freezing winter morning, when we'd taken the metro to the city center and then walked through the silent, foggy streets across the city toward the shining lights of Klaus K, the milky, nutty flavor of the barley porridge contrasted with the natural sweet tartness of the Finnish berries made for a satisfying start to the morning.
Since then, I've made this at home many times.  I pour all the ingredients into a 2-quart / 2-liter casserole dish, heat the oven to 80°C/180°F, give it a stir, and pop it in the oven.  I then dump a pile of frozen berries into a wide, shallow bowl, pop that into the fridge to thaw, and head off to bed.
In the morning, the fragrance of the barley and warmed milk greets me.  I can brew a cup of coffee or tea in the time it takes to get my morning porridge into a bowl and berries poured over it, and it is one of the best ways to start my day.
Try it for yourself!
Overnight Barley Porridge
1 cup / 2 dl pearl barley
1 quart / 4 cups / 1 liter of milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
Pour all of the ingredients into a 2-quart/2 liter ceramic casserole dish.  Give it a stir.  Turn the oven to 80°C/180°F, please the porridge into the oven, shut the door, let it be overnight.
Pour 2 cups of frozen berries into a wide, shallow bowl: blueberries, bilberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrant, blackberries...whatever you have!  I like a combination of berries, myself.  Place the berries in the fridge overnight to thaw.
In the morning, pull the porridge from the oven and serve topped with berries and accompanied by a steaming cup of coffee or tea and the morning paper.
Serves 6.
Good Morning!  The newspaper, hot breakfast, hot tea... a happy start.
Eat simply, eat well,
Love this recipe? Then I bet you'll like the recipe for Healthy Baked Oatmeal Porridge as well! Do you have other great ideas for easy breakfasts? Let me know in the comments below. 
If you haven't signed up for the ESEW newsletter yet, scroll on up to top of the page and fill out the form - never miss a great recipe or tip again!

Labels: , , ,