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Fell Asleep in the Casserole? Green Curry Porridge is Your Wake-Up Call

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October turned November and Food52 turned Casserole City.

Overnight, our whole site went Thanksgiving, like we woke up to a deep snow (or a new president). Except instead of snow, there were pies, green beans, stuffings. Turkey, a meat we ignore most of the year, suddenly became the only protein source in existence. And in this parallel universe, where the Thanksgiving dinner is always just three hours away (and life's most important event), we here sometimes neglect the countless other meals and recipes that will happen between then and now.

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So what to eat when you're not thinking about or seated at the Thanksgiving table? When the sight of another 9-by-13 makes you woozy? (Or what about if you're not celebrating or interested in Thanksgiving at all?) Start with a big pot of green curry porridge.

Green Curry Porridge à la Heidi Swanson
Green Curry Porridge à la Heidi Swanson

It has the flavors of a brightly herby, Thai-inspired coconut milk curry, except instead of adding tofu, chicken, or shrimp and serving it over rice noodles or white rice, the coconut milk is blended with all sorts of spicy, invigorating ingredients (ginger, fresh chile, cilantro, scallions, spinach, lime juice, and curry leaves), then added straight into a pot of brown rice and farro. For flavor that hits every level of the dish, those grains have themselves been toasted with lemongrass, garlic, coriander, and more ginger and curry leaves.

The recipe is adapted just slightly from the inimitable Heidi Swanson, who writes and cooks at 101 Cookbooks and is the author, most recently, of Near & Far. It's comforting but not a bedtime lullaby; it's rich but not macaroni and cheese; it's vegan; it comes together in less than an hour and in just one pot (and one blender); it's just as good cold from the fridge; it has very little to do with Thanksgiving.

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Photo by Bobbi Lin

The original recipe uses only brown rice and skips the fresh curry leaves (with which I am particularly obsessed). Heidi also recommends you use sorrel, with its citrusy tang, in place of the spinach and lime juice when you can find it, and suggests swapping out the delicata for other winter squash (though you'll need to peel thicker-skinned acorn, kabocha, or butternut).

You could also try adding mint to the coconut milk mixture, or fold in more spinach or finely chopped chard to wilt it in at the last minute. Top it with braised tempeh or poached chicken or an egg fried in panko crumbs for a complete meal-in-a-bowl.

Or double the recipe and serve it on... well... Thanksgiving? I wouldn't stop you.

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Green Curry Porridge à la Heidi Swanson

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Serves 6
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemongrass, minced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger, divided
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 10 or so curry leaves, divided (optional but worthwhile)
  • 3/4 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • 5 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons fine grain sea salt, divided
  • One 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 small serrano or other hot chile, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro (stems are fine), plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallion tops, bottoms reserved for serving
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus wedges for serving
  • 1 or 2 small delicata squash, cut lengthwise then cut into 1/2- to 1/4-inch half moon

Tags: Heidi Swanson, porridge, curry, squash