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Le Pain Quotidien’s Harvest Porridge

I’m no fan of chain restaurants, but the Belgian bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien can have my $3.25 for a decaf cafe au lait any day. I love the (reclaimed) communal tables, I love drinking (organic) coffee from a bowl and I love any (sugar-laden, highly calorific) baked good they care to put in front of me. Raisin bread topped with fresh ricotta and drizzled with honey and figs tastes even better when you call it a tartine.

harvest porridge

photo from Le Pain Quotidien

My all-time favorite dish at Le Pain Quotidien is a winter special called Harvest Porridge. It’s an oatmeal-like mush made from farro, almond milk and dried cranberries with pecans, walnuts and a quartered strawberry on top. I never ate oatmeal as a child, and even now I prefer it heavily sweetened, preferably with chocolate chips and marshmallows, a last reminder of the sort of communal living one does in one’s early twenties, where four young artists share a house but rarely go food shopping, leaving one to forage for midnight snacks concocted from whatever pantry staples are on hand. That is to say, hot cereal in its most nutritious form has mostly escaped me.

Until the porridge, which I ate on every trip to LPQ in the winter of 2009-10. And oh, was I disappointed to find it was not the seasonal special when I visited last fall. But to my great surprise, yesterday’s trip revealed the porridge at the top of the specials board. I cried out in surprise and delight, amusing the diners seated on either side of us (who surely and wrongly expected that my son, rather than myself, would be the one to disturb their meal. He, by the way, prefers the pain au chocolat and a soft-boiled egg).

And now I will stop rhapsodizing about the porridge and point you to both the recipe, reprinted at The White Blue Sky from Shape Magazine, and a blog called Northeast Locavore, who seems to be equally fond of the stuff and has already done thorough research on cooking farro and has adapted the recipe to ingredients you may be more likely to have on hand.

Thanks to both of them. And now I am off to order some farro.

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2 Responses to “Le Pain Quotidien’s Harvest Porridge”

  1. February 25th, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    browneyes_24b @ The White Blue Sky says:

    Great post! Thank you for the link to my blog. Since writing my post I have ventured into cooking a little with farro, but have not returned to this recipe yet. I am so excited to make the Harvest Porridge with farro. Happy cooking! :)

  2. November 10th, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Krystyna Parsa says:

    nice work, love your design, suits the site well :-)