© 2012 Green Kitchen Stories Rye_porridge_1

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


  1. emily
    Posted 13 May ’12 at 12:08 | #

    Aww, she is adorable!!!

  2. Posted 13 May ’12 at 12:43 | #

    Elsa is seriously the cutest child on the internet. I’m not kidding…I don’t have kids so I can say things like that, haha. She has the cutest little face! Anyway, besides gushing over how adorable your little girl is, I loooove this idea for breakfast. It sounds so delicious!

  3. Posted 13 May ’12 at 13:52 | #

    Elsa is going to be so awesomely multilingual! Also, you had me at beer. And rhubarb. And compote.

  4. Posted 13 May ’12 at 14:44 | #

    Awww, Elsa honey pie! What a post! The sunshine of parenthood shines through so beautiful! Remember when Luise told me about this porrige..haha, so wierd but OF COURSE I will give it a go! Much love and summery earthsprout hugs!

  5. Posted 13 May ’12 at 14:51 | #

    Great combo! My little man just turned 4 today, just you wait until Elsa starts talking like a 4 year old :-/
    Love that she speaks a little of both your languages.

  6. Posted 13 May ’12 at 14:55 | #

    This looks like a delicious recipe, I love rhubarb!
    Elsa is getting so big, She’s beautiful!

  7. Posted 13 May ’12 at 15:04 | #

    What a big girl she is! That little pony tail makes her look so much older. I love how all over the world, rhubarb is landing on tables everywhere. What an intriguing porridge using beer!

  8. Laura Cooper
    Posted 13 May ’12 at 17:14 | #

    Oh what a cutie! I love the photos of Elsa.

    The recipe looks delicious, what an awesome combination. I’m so sad that my husband won’t eat rhubarb though :(
    Have you any idea of something I could use instead of the rhubarb?
    Thanks for the post :)

    • Posted 13 May ’12 at 19:10 | #

      Hi Laura, you could easily skip the rhubarb and just do an apple compote with cinnamon.
      Good luck!

  9. Posted 13 May ’12 at 19:43 | #

    Hey guys, Elsa looks like both of you so much! What a big girl. This porridge sound delish.

  10. Posted 13 May ’12 at 20:38 | #

    i’ve just found your blog, I love it so much, and your family seems to be beautiful! See you soon :)

  11. Posted 13 May ’12 at 21:00 | #

    Fantastic! I found rye flakes at Whole Foods in the bulk section but find that they need more cooking than oat or even spelt flakes, so what I did was soaking overnight as I would do for steal-cut oats. I love the flavor, though, and I never thought about combining them with beer! I am saving this recipe for next time! I am all about oatmeal with rhubarb at the moment, I will post a recipe soon too, and I still have some roasted rhubarb to use on my morning cereal, this will be my next try! :) Thanks for sharing!

  12. Posted 13 May ’12 at 21:18 | #

    Kids are so amazing, and I just love watching them learn and grow. It’s fun reading about Elsa and her growing vocabulary. I’ve been cooking with rhubarb all week at la Domestique, and love the idea of this unique rye,rhubarb and beer porridge. Beautiful post!

  13. Posted 14 May ’12 at 10:58 | #

    I love the idea of this rye porridge. I’ll be curious to try it with the beer. My Gran used to make a beer tart which tasted delicious.
    The pic of Elsa with the soap bubble is so cute :)

  14. Posted 14 May ’12 at 11:55 | #

    Hey you guys!
    Another inspiring post from your hands.
    Normally I made my øllebrød in the classic way, with old rye bread left-overs (And i use water, not beer, that works great as well. Not because I dislike beers, but because that is the way we’ve always done it in my family.. I’ve always wondered why it’s called ØLLEbrød, actually.. Now it makes sence..) – I’m curious about your new version, but could you perhaps translate rolled rye into something danish or swedish or something, since I have no idea, what it is?
    Greetings and keep up your good work!
    Nanna (DK)

    • Posted 14 May ’12 at 12:33 | #

      Hi Nanna:-)
      Thanks for your comment!
      Rolled rye is called rug flager, very similar to rolled oats (havregryn). Using rolled rye or rye flakes instead of old rye bread increase the nutritional value.

      Happy cooking

  15. Sini
    Posted 15 May ’12 at 11:28 | #

    This porrindge look so good! Rhubarb season is coming – finally.

  16. Posted 15 May ’12 at 17:50 | #

    How wonderfully creative! I look forward to trying this.

  17. Posted 16 May ’12 at 01:17 | #

    What a lucky girl, once she asks for breakfest she gets such delicious treats! Here in Poland we also celebrate rhubarb season, or at least I do it every morning eating my rhubarb porridge with rhubarb compote. Thank you for another great recipe!

  18. Danila
    Posted 16 May ’12 at 11:47 | #

    This post is actually only about Elsa, though it doesn’t mean I don’t love your last recipe. Back to Elsa: she is just beautiful…

  19. Posted 16 May ’12 at 19:50 | #

    I’m so in love with Rhubarb these days – it’s the color…your porridge looks incredible yummy! I’m working on a post about Rhubarb Mustard – sounds interesting, right?

  20. Posted 16 May ’12 at 23:28 | #

    I was in with the rhubarb, but the beer part makes me a tad suspicious. Perhaps I should just give it a try. ;)

    But yes, rhubarb! Keep them rhubarb recipes coming!

  21. Posted 17 May ’12 at 10:37 | #

    Sounds delicious, and Elsa looks so sweet! I’ve just returned from Germany and loved their bircher museli, so definitely looking forward to this! Thanks x

  22. Posted 18 May ’12 at 19:05 | #

    Lovely pictures and lovely breakfast! Rhubarb means that the summer is on it’s way… Lovely! Kram!

  23. Posted 19 May ’12 at 22:55 | #

    Elsa is so adorable!! And this porridge looks absolutely sinful. I can’t wait to try it out.

  24. Katrine
    Posted 20 May ’12 at 10:49 | #

    Vi elsker jeres mad højt og bruger tit jeres opskrifter som de er eller til inspiration. Men jeg må sige: noget er galt med denne her grød. Fulgte opskriften til punkt og prikke, og min mand og jeg bare stirrede på hinanden over grøden, der smagte ubeskriveligt mærkeligt og meget af øl. Kompotten var derimod uovertruffen.

    • Posted 20 May ’12 at 23:23 | #

      Hej Katrine!
      Ærgeligt ærgeligt! Vi kigger opskriften igennem. Husk at det ska være hvidtøl/letøl.
      Happy cooking!

  25. Brian
    Posted 20 May ’12 at 19:27 | #

    For the compote, it says to bring to a boil. What liquid do you put in the pot other than the vanilla?

  26. Posted 21 May ’12 at 03:07 | #

    Elsa is so ADORABLE! Thanks for sharing these rhubarb recipes, I’m excited to give the porridge a try!

  27. Posted 21 May ’12 at 07:42 | #

    I definitely understand having a mixed culture marriage and how that can affect out verbal choices! How that would translate to a child, however, is a mystery and joy we have not experienced. Your little girl is a beauty.

  28. Linea
    Posted 24 May ’12 at 22:37 | #

    Hey you guys
    I’m just right now making your rhubarb compote, so it’s ready for breakfast tomorrow. I’m just wondering how you make it without adding any liquids to the pot? Personally i’ve just added a bit of water to the pot, out of fear of my fruits getting burned, and my compote not getting “mushy” enough.
    Do you have any tips on how to get the right consistent, without burning anything?

    • Posted 25 May ’12 at 11:24 | #

      When you bring fruit to a boil on low heat it will release it’s juices, but adding a bit of water won’t make a big difference;-)

      Happy Cooking

  29. Posted 26 May ’12 at 23:58 | #

    What an adorable photo of your little lady! Rhubarb compote together with porridge sound like an awesome combination which I have yet to indulge in.

  30. Teresa
    Posted 29 May ’12 at 05:11 | #

    Rhubarb just popped up at the farmers markets, so my roommates and I decided to make this porridge. We used dried apricots instead of prunes, but otherwise followed the recipe. It was so easy to make and a great hit! Thanks for the recipe!

  31. Posted 13 Jun ’12 at 10:43 | #

    Nice Recipes, thanks for sharing!

  32. Posted 1 Sep ’12 at 09:47 | #

    Does the beer also match with oatmeal porridge? I like the idea to add it.

  33. Pamela
    Posted 1 Nov ’12 at 09:19 | #

    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.

  34. Posted 3 Feb ’13 at 19:04 | #

    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!

  35. Sara
    Posted 13 Apr ’13 at 18:00 | #


    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!


  36. Kelsey Brown
    Posted 15 Aug ’13 at 08:04 | #


    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!


  37. Toni
    Posted 21 May ’14 at 22:29 | #

    This sounds great-I love rhubarb!
    What do you think how long you could keep the compote for??

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