As promised in my last post, I have another pear recipe for you today!
One of my favourite breakfasts that my mom used to make for us growing up was something called "teddy bear porridge". I'm not sure how it got that name, but it was basically a pot of oats cooked on the stovetop with chunks of hot apples, cinnamon and sugar. It was the perfect comforting bowl to eat on a cold morning!
This recipe reminds me of that childhood favourite, but with a couple of twists: first, I used amaranth as the porridge base instead of oats, and second, I replaced the apples with sauteed pears.
If you haven't used amaranth before, it's a tiny seed that looks similar to quinoa, and it can be cooked in a similar way too. I cooked mine in water and once it was all absorbed, I stirred in some almond milk to make it extra creamy for more of a porridge texture. I also added a cinnamon stick and some spices to the pot to incorporate more flavour.
The pears were diced and sauteed in a pan with a bit of Earth Balance, sugar and cinnamon, until they were nice and soft. They can be served on top or mixed into the porridge so that every spoonful has a chunk of juicy sweet pears.
You can eat the porridge with just the sauteed pears, but to make it a bit more special, I topped mine with some raisins, toasted walnuts, popped amaranth, and a good swirl of pure maple syrup. I would definitely recommend adding the maple syrup because the amaranth isn't very sweet on its own, but the popped amaranth is optional - I liked the extra dimension of texture that it added, but if you don't have time for that extra step, I think the porridge would still be just as good without it!
I actually ate a bowl of this for dinner and saved the leftovers for breakfast the next day. It was just what I wanted - a warm, comforting bowl of creamy porridge with the flavours of Fall! Not only is it comfort food, but it's really healthy too - amaranth is a good source of protein, fibre, calcium, and contains other vitamins and minerals, plus its gluten-free.
I still have fond memories of teddy bear porridge, but now I love this grown-up version too!
Now, on an unrelated note - I just wanted to give you a heads up that things might be a bit quiet here on the blog for the next two weeks. In a few hours, I'll be off to the airport for another trip back to Africa! This time, I'll be visiting Nairobi, Kenya, where I have a week-long workshop similar to the one that I attended in Zambia a couple months ago.
I'm even more excited for this trip because I've booked a mini-safari after our workshop! I'm going to the famous Maasai Mara reserve, and I'm lucky enough to be there during the great wildebeest migration. An African safari is something I've always wanted to do, and I can't believe that in just over a week, I'll actually have the chance to experience it myself!
I'm not sure if I'll be able to do any posts while I'm away, but I'll do my best to stay in touch! And I'll definitely be back with some more Fall-themed posts in October...I might be a bit late to the pumpkin party, but I've already got a can in my cupboard waiting to be opened as soon as I get back home!
Amaranth Porridge with Sauteed Pears
1/2 cup + 1 tsp dry amaranth
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1-2 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 large pear, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp cane sugar or brown sugar
Maple syrup and cinnamon to taste
First, make the puffed amaranth topping (optional): Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add about 1/2 tsp amaranth and cover. Shake the pan a bit and wait for the amaranth to start popping. (if it doesn’t pop, throw out that batch and start again). Once it has popped, transfer to a small bowl and add another 1/2 tsp amaranth to the pot. Repeat process.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup amaranth, water, cinnamon stick, ginger and salt to the saucepan. Heat on high until the water boils, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until most of the water has absorbed. Remove from heat and add the raisins. Let sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and cook for 3-5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Set aside.
Keep the pan heated on medium-low and add a small bit of butter or cooking spray to the pan. Add the pears and sprinkle them with sugar and a dash of cinnamon. Saute for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are are soft and warm.
When the amaranth is ready, remove lid and discard the cinnamon stick. Stir in as much almond milk as necessary to get a creamy consistency. Transfer to a bowl and top with sautéed pears, walnuts, and as much of the puffed amaranth as you like. Garnish with a drizzle of maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon.
Makes 2 servings.