I’ve heard that the body’s best time to digest breakfast is between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. Or, wait, is it between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.? OK, it’s sometime between waking up and noon. I can figure that part out, but where does coffee factor into this equation? As an early riser, on most mornings I tend to be at least one cup of coffee deep by 6:45. I also often find that my stomach hurts something awful as I walk to the train at 7:15, after several cups of coffee and still no breakfast. That’s when I started trying something new: espresso porridge. A blend of whole grains and a bit of instant espresso powder makes for a stick-to-your-ribs porridge that’s a perfect mixture of caffeine and calories.
I actually make this recipe the night before, because I certainly don’t have time to let a pot of grains simmer for 40 minutes on a weekday. Much as I’d like to live that life of leisure, I just haven’t gotten there yet.
Rinse ½ cup steel cut oats, ½ cup quinoa, and ¼ cup brown rice well with cold water for about 2 minutes. You should always rinse grains (especially quinoa) to ensure any bitter coating left on the grains, as well as any other debris, don’t end up in your breakfast
Scoop the grains into a medium saucepan with 3 cups water and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes, until the grains are soft and mushy, and the water has absorbed.
Stir in 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 teaspoons chia seeds, and a pinch of ground allspice.
Scoop about ½ cup of the porridge into a bowl and dress it up: Melted nut butter, toasted chopped nuts and seeds, shredded coconut, and sliced apples and banana all work really well here. Pour in a hefty splash of your preferred milk (or, if you’re feeling something richer, a bit of cream or full-fat coconut milk) and go to town. If you really want to live it up, you could pour in a fresh shot of espresso or a splash of Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Stash leftover porridge in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat in a pot or the microwave for up to 1 week.