By Cat, March 16, 2016 (image, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Amaranth seeds, like quinoa, are used a pseudo grain, and are gaining popularity as more people shy away from gluten-grains. Amaranth is a close relative of spinach, and the history of its use as a grain dates back eons.
Pine nuts (pignoli) are common in Mediterranean cuisine, and are delicious prepared as Crispy Pine Nuts (soaked and dried or toasted).
I’ve not yet tried this recipe, but it sure sounds delicious.
Amaranth Porridge with Apricots & Pine Nuts
This recipe is adapted from “Simply Ancient Grains,” by Maria Speck (Ten Speed Press, 2015), reprinted by The Daily InterLake newspaper on 3/16/16.
You could certainly use different dried fruits if you don’t want to use dried apricots; for example, dried plums (prunes), dried apples, or dried berries. Or instead of fresh or dried dates you could use fresh or dried figs, or golden raisins.
The original recipe serves 4; I’ve adjusted it to serve 2.
Ingredients & Equipment
- ½ cup amaranth grains
- 2 Tbsp chopped dates (fresh or dried)
- ¼ cinnamon stick
- ¾ cups boiling water
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2 Tbsp chopped soft dried apricots
- pinch unrefined sea salt
- 1 – 2 tsp local honey (or to taste)
- ½ tsp finely grated orange zest
- 1 Tbsp Crispy Pine Nuts (lightly toasted), for garnish (see box, above for instructions)
- heavy-bottomed 2 quart saucepan, with lid
- tea-kettle or saucepan (for boiling water)
- wooden spoon
- 1 – 2 days before: Prepare Crispy Pine Nuts; leave them whole (you need an overnight soak, and then either 24-hours to dry, or a few minutes to toast them. See box, below:
- Night before: Place amaranth, dates and cinnamon stick in saucepan; pour boiling water over, cover saucepan, and let it rest at room temperature overnight (or up to 2 days in refrigerator).
- In morning: Add milk, apricots and salt to the saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, stir well with a wooden spoon.
- Meanwhile, grate lemon zest and set aside.
- When amaranth mixture comes to a boil, decrease heat to medium or medium-high, to maintain a lively bubble; cook until mixture starts to thicken, about 8 minutes.
- Reduce heat to a simmer. Stir mixture thoroughly, scraping bottom, and continue cooking, stirring often, until mixture is creamy, about 2 more minutes. The grains will swell and become translucent, but maintain a little crunchiness.
- Remove from heat, discard cinnamon stick, and stir in honey and orange zest. Taste and adjust sweetness with more honey and ilk.
- Cover pan (off the heat) and let it rest 2 minutes before serving.
- Serve warm in bowls, garnished with pine nuts.
- Daily InterLake, March 16, 2016, originally from “Simply Ancient Grains,” by Maria Speck (Ten Speed Press, 2015); DIL article from the Raleigh News & Observer and their ‘The Recipe” blog: therecipe.nandointeractive.com/amaranth-porridge-with-apricots-and-pine-nuts; the complete article is available on the Charlotte Observer: how to get more whole grains in your diet