The Beast’s Savoury Porridge

What’s better than breakfast? Breakfast for dinner!


When we decided to do a Beauty and the Beast dinner I couldn’t get the image of the Beast shoving his face into a bowl full of porridge out of my head. I thought it was hilarious as a child, and it is such an iconic scene from the movie – the moment when Belle first starts to see the person inside the beast facade and fall in love. So rather than adding to the many online replicas of the ‘Be Our Guest’ scene (grey stuff, anyone?) I decided to make porridge our main course.

Now savoury porridge seemed like a strange idea at first – I’m not sure about you but porridge to me always has brown sugar or pears or honey. It’s sweet, comforting winter food to warm you in the morning. But trust me, give it a go! Stewed with mushrooms, shallots and stock it transforms from a breakfast staple to a delicious nutty dish, similar to risotto or congee.

We served this for dinner, but I will definitely be having it for breakfast in the depths of winter! The sautéed brussels sprouts provide a splash of colour and freshness, and the sprinkle of garlicky breadcrumbs (pangritata) add some salty crunch. This recipe is vegetarian, but if you’re not a veggo then a rasher of crispy bacon would be very welcome on top!


Savoury Porridge

Please forgive the funny looking egg. Emily is very good at photographic poaching, while mine end up looking, as Mary Berry would say, a little ‘informal’!

Serves 6 generously for dinner





  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed or very finely chopped
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 10 mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cup steel-cut oats*
  • 4 and 1/2 cup good vegetable stock (you can swap in some white wine if you feel fancy)
  • As much fresh thyme as you can bring yourself to pick off the twigs
  • Salt and pepper

How you do it

  1. Warm the butter and oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat until melted but not browned
  2. Add the garlic and onions and sauté until soft
  3. Add the mushrooms and sauté and soft, too.
  4. Add the oats and stir through until they’re all covered in gooey garlicky mushrooms, then add the stock and thyme (keep a pinch or two of thyme left over).
  5. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 mins, or until the oats are cooked. They should still have a bit of bite left over.
  6. Season as you like it, then serve.
*Make sure you use steel cut oats, and not rolled or instant. They are less processed and will therefore stand up to the long cooking time, and will still have a pleasant bite to them. Processed oats will become sludge!

Brussels Sprouts


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 500g Brussels Sprouts, roughly chopped
  • Handful of hazelnuts, roughly chopped

How you do it

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  2. Add the sprouts, and stir through the butter on a low-medium heat for 5 minutes or so. You want them to be warmed through, but still crunchy. No one wants soggy sprouts!
  3. Take off the heat and stir though the hazelnuts, then serve.



Pangritata has a fancy name but humble beginnings – it was invented in Southern Italy as a frugal alternative for parmesan cheese. It is essentially breadcrumbs fried in oil with herbs and garlic – simple ingredients, but an oh-so-crunchy-salty delight that adds a lot of joy. You can make it a week or so before your dinner – keep it in a jar in your pantry and add a spoonful on top of any pasta dish when you need to add a sprinkle of something-something.


  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 handful thyme leaves (get someone to help you pick the leaves off the stems)
  • 200g breadcrumbs

How you do it

  1. Warm oil in a thick-bottomed pan.
  2. Add garlic, thyme and breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir for a couple of minutes on medium-high heat until the breadcrumbs have begun to toast are are crisp and golden.
  4. Drain on kitchen paper, then store in a sealed jar in the pantry.


On a warm plate place two spoonfuls of porridge. Pop on some sprouts, and then very gently place a poached egg on top. Ideally, the egg with still have a runny yolk. Finally, sprinkle a line of pangritata down the length of the dish, and toss on some fresh thyme. Bon appetit! 



One Comment Add yours

  1. louise klug says:

    Pangretta!! Ive been wanting to make this for ages and never found a good recipe – Ill have a go using this one, thanks girls! 🙂


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