Rye, Rhubarb & Beer Porridge

I woke up early this morning with her sitting next to me. She looked at me with her adoring big brown eyes and said: “Pappa, jag vill spisa frukost!”, “Daddy, I want to eat breakfast!”. Somehow, between a blog post and a book deal, Elsa has learned how to talk. She has of course been saying words for several months, but all of a sudden all those random words are formed into sentences. She says the cutest things, using a mix of Danish and Swedish words. Just like we do. When Luise and I met we spoke English with each other, even though Danish and Swedish are pretty similar. We learned to understand each others languages and have since then come to speak a mixture of both. Our use of Danish and Swedish words seems quite random, but Elsa has totally picked it up. And suddenly she is not a baby anymore. She tells us what she wants. And what she doesn’t want to do (that list is growing rapidly at the moment). It’s a new voice in our family and parenting just became ten times more complicated. And twenty times more fun.

Back to this morning. One of our most usual breakfasts is porridge. We usually vary between oatmeal and buckwheat porridge, but a while back Luise introduced a new porridge to us. It’s a Danish porridge that originally is called øllebrød, and is made on old rye bread and beer (!). A simpler and much healthier version is just to make it on rolled rye or rye flakes, water and a dash of organic light beer (2,8%). The beer is optional. It’s not something we usually incorporate in food, but it releases such interesting flavors into the porridge. Don’t be scared by it, Luise doesn’t like the taste of beer at all, but she loves this porridge. And all the alcohol disappears as you boil it, so no worries about getting drunk before lunch.

We topped it with rhubarb from our csa box, lightly cooked into a compote with fresh apples as sweetener. They taste so fresh with a hint of sweetness and tartness. If you like it sweeter you can add some agave or maple. In Denmark they traditionally also serve this porridge with whipped cream, but we use yogurt. It’s truly a breakfast for champions.

Rye, Rhubarb & Beer Porridge
Serves 4

2 cups rolled rye (similar to rolled oats)
3 cups water
1 1/2 cup organic light beer (2,8%) or water
5-10 dried prunes (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp ground vanilla

Place all ingredients in a medium pot and bring slowly to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for about 5-7 minutes, while stirring. Serve with warm rhubarb compote (see recipe below), vanilla whisked yogurt and roasted hazelnuts.

Rhubarb & apple compote

2-4 stalks fresh rhubarb, sliced
2 red apples, cut into cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp ground vanilla

Place all ingredients in a small pot and bring slowly to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for about 7-10 minutes, stir occasionally. Do not over cook it, you don’t want the rhubarbs to loose their color and texture too much.

Photos by: Johanna Frenkel


  • Toni
    This sounds great-I love rhubarb! What do you think how long you could keep the compote for??
  • Kelsey Brown
    Hi, I am an American expat living in Stockholm and I was wondering about where you get your CSA box from. I would really like to start getting one since it is something I miss about home, but I am not sure where to find it. Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Kelsey
    • Hi Kelsey, We have tried a few different companies and are most satisfied with Årstiderna. http://www.arstiderna.com/ Best Luise
  • Sara
    Hello! I was curious if there was another grain that could be used to replace the rye--so far I haven't been able to find rolled rye. Thanks a lot! Sara
  • I'm sitting in the living room with my family while reading your wonderful blog. Nobody pays attention to me until I suddenly shriek "Aaaaw!" because your daughter is just too sweet! Probably the most endearing sugar substitution in the world. Best wishes and thank you for plenty of inspiration! Lara
  • Pamela
    Sounds delicious, I'm going to make this. Try my version too: slow-cooker oats with apple cider/beer, cardamom and raisins. After about 4 - 6 hours, cooks into a creamy treat, so good. My children love it.
  • Does the beer also match with oatmeal porridge? I like the idea to add it.

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