Sweden Rice Porridge Santa, Called Risengr?d in Denmark and Risgrynsgr?t in Sweden, rice porridge is served on Christmas Eve both to family members and, traditionally, as an offering to the Nisse or Tomte, a beneficent but touchy household spirit. A single blanched almond is added to the pot before serving; whoever finds it is likely to be married in the next twelve months. Leftovers are reserved and used to make an elegant rice pudding to serve with Christmas dinner the next day.
Rinse rice well and drain. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water, butter, and salt to a rapid boil over high heat. Pour in rice, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Reduce heat to low, stirring rice until boiling is reduced to a simmer. Cover pot and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until rice has absorbed most of the water.
Add milk to rice, stirring to incorporate. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, then immediately reduce heat to low. Once boiling has reduced to a simmer, cover pot and allow to cook, without stirring, for 45 minutes.
Serve with cinnamon-sugar and butter to taste (Christmas Eve Reminder: Don’t forget to stir a single blanched almond into the rice porridge before serving, particularly if there are family members you’d like to see married off. If there are Nisse about and livestock at stake, it’s also a good idea to top the porridge with a big slice of butter … or face the consequences!).
Yield: 5-6 servings.