January is the month for hearty, nutritious breakfasts. After a month of rushing around for the holidays, we now have a little more time to spend on making food that’s not a cheese plate or tray of cookies.
This brown rice breakfast porridge is a great variation on hot cereal; the short grain brown rice gives plenty of toothsome texture to the dish and stays suspended in a creamy mixture of freshly blended cinnamon pecan milk.
Brown rice is an excellent grain to eat early in the morning, as its low glycemic index ensures that it releases its energy into your bloodstream slowly, keeping you alert and satisfied until lunch-time. Cinnamon, aside from adding warmth and sweetness to the porridge, has been shown to decrease blood glucose levels, preventing any ten o’clock sugar crashes.
Once the porridge is creamy and soft, it gets portioned into bowls,
drizzled with a quick balsamic reduction,
and sprinkled with toasted pecans before a final drizzle of pecan milk adds a cool finish to this elegant breakfast. The resulting dish is satisfying and filling, and has a hint of acidic sweetness from the balsamic. Whether your New Year’s resolution is to eat breakfast, be healthier, cook more, try new foods, or enjoy your mornings, this recipe fits the bill.
Brown Rice Breakfast Porridge with Cinnamon Pecan Milk and Balsamic Reduction
1 cup short grain brown rice
1 ¾ cups water
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups Cinnamon Pecan Milk (recipe follows), plus more for serving
½ cup pecan halves
½ cup balsamic vinegar
- Combine the rice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then simmer for 40-50 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Alternatively, cook the rice with the water in a rice cooker.
- Place the cooked rice in a medium saucepan (if you used a rice cooker, if not the rice doesn’t need to be transferred) and add the cinnamon stick, vanilla, salt, and pecan milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer on low heat until the rice is creamy and the milk is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.
- While the rice simmers, place the pecan halves in a skillet over medium heat and toast until fragrant, 5-6 minutes. Remove from the pan and coarsely chop, then set aside. Wipe out the pan, then add the balsamic vinegar to the pan and simmer on low until syrupy and reduced, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. By the time you’re done with this step, the rice should be ready.
- To serve: Portion the rice into small bowls and drizzle with the balsamic glaze, then sprinkle with the chopped pecans. Add a splash of the pecan milk to the top of the porridge, then serve.
Notes: The balsamic reduction adds a uniquely acidic sweetness to the dish. If you would prefer, substitute the vinegar for ¼ cup of maple syrup. Do not reduce the syrup, but drizzle 1 tablespoon maple syrup on the top of each porridge bowl before serving. If you happen to have leftover brown rice, use 3 cups of cooked brown rice in place of the rice and water and start the recipe at step 2.
Cinnamon Pecan Milk
Makes 4 cups
1 cup pecan halves
About 3 cups water to soak pecans
4 cups filtered water
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Place the pecan halves and the 3 cups of water in a sealable container and let soak in the fridge for 8-12 hours.
- Drain the pecans and place them in a blender with the filtered water. Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and set aside. Blend the pecans and water together for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. Strain the mixture through the strainer, then return the milk to the blender and add the salt and cinnamon. Reserve the nut pulp for another use. Blend the milk with the cinnamon and salt until smooth, another 1-2 minutes. Strain once again, then pour into an airtight container until ready to use. The pecan milk will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge.