Called Risengrød in Denmark and Risgrynsgröt in Sweden, rice porridge is served on Christmas Eve both to family members and, traditionally, as an offering to the Nisse or Tomte, a beneficent but touchy household spirit.
A single blanched almond is added to the pot before serving; whoever finds it is likely to be married in the next twelve months. Leftovers are reserved and used to make an elegant rice pudding to serve with Christmas dinner the next day.
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup short-grained, glutinous rice (I like to use Jasmine because of its added sweetness; pearl rice also works well)
- 4 1/2 cups milk
- cinnamon-sugar and butter to taste
- Rinse the rice well and drain.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water, butter, and salt to a rapid boil over high heat.
- Pour in the rice, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.
- Reduce the heat to low, stirring the rice until boiling is reduced to a simmer.
- Cover the pot and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the rice has absorbed most of the water.
- Add the milk to the rice, stirring to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, then immediately reduce the heat to low.
- Once boiling has reduced to a simmer, cover the pot and allow it to cook, without stirring, for 45 minutes. Be careful here to avoid it scorching.
- Serve warm with cinnamon-sugar and butter to taste. You can also serve it with cold milk to pour over the top.
Leftover rice porridge can be enjoyed the next day for breakfast, simply reheat in the microwave. It will keep for a few days in the refrigerator. You can always thin it with milk if you prefer it a little more liquid.
Christmas Eve Reminder for Risgrynsgröt
Don’t forget to stir a single blanched almond into the rice porridge before serving, particularly if there are family members who would like to be married in the coming year. It's up to you whether you cheat and give it to the most-likely candidate or whether you stir it in and dish it out blindly.
If there are Nisse about and livestock at stake, it’s also a good idea to top the porridge with a big slice of butter. If the Nisse doesn't see butter on top, he may become angry. Set his portion outside the front door on Christmas Eve for him to find and enjoy. Otherwise, you will have to face the consequences. These can range from tying the cows' tails together to breaking things in the barn.