Rommegrot - Norwegian Hot Cereal Delight
1 1/2 gallon soy milk (vanilla or plain) (Silk works well)
4-5 tablespoons vegan margarine (Earth Balance is great) at room temp
1/4 cup raw sugar or sugar substitute (Stevia, Agave)
1 - 3 tablespoons cinnamon (approx.)
a tiny pinch to 1/8 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch (if needed)
1 - 2 tablespoons flour (unbleached is best)
This is a traditional xmas warm treat that, although it is technically a hot cereal, is often eaten by us Norwegians at night - even substituting a dinner or dessert. Make this and Norwegians will come out of the woodwork.
Essentially this is a roux that has been sweetened. Norwegians really love their dairy so you HAVE to come up with alternatives for dairy to convert a Norwegian.
Ok, you start by allowing the margarine to get to room temperature.
Once that is ready, you move on to warming a large pot on low-to-medium heat and tossing in the flour. Lightly move the flour around the pan to brown it. Be very careful to evenly move the flour around and keep the heat low enough not to burn the flour. Once you see a nice even caramel-brown shade on the flour add in the butter 1/2 Tablespoon at a time and NOT more than 1 or 2 Tablespoons total. You only need to add in enough margarine to absorb the flour up and make a nice paste consistency. Once you get a paste, stop adding margarine. Leave the remaining margarine for topping.
Immediately after you get the paste consistency you need to start SLOWLY pouring in the soy milk. It is a tricky thing making a roux but I've found that if you add a wee bit of soy milk in at a time, then immediately start mixing in the flour paste into the soy milk with a wooden spoon I get the best results. After you add a bit of soy milk in you need to mash down the paste and get it to move all throughout the 'milk' until it is thoroughly absorbed. Don't add in more 'milk' until you get the lumps out. If you skip any lumps they will get harder as you add in fresh bits of milk. Keep adding in 'milk' a tiny bit at a time and working the 'paste' into the freshly poured 'milk'.
Once you've added in 3/4 of the milk you can add the salt and sugar - start by adding in half of each and taste. The salt merely helps to enhance the sugar and sweetness so really a tiny amount (anywhere from a tiny pinch to 1/8 teaspoon max).
Reserve some of the sweetener as well for serving. The roux (mixture) should be slightly sweet to taste while still cooking. Continue to add the 'milk' in a bit at a time until all of the milk is in the pot. If you've taken your time and added the 'milk' in slowly enough the original roux (flour/margarine) will continue to thicken the milk. You might need to cheat a little by adding a bit of cornstarch - a teaspoon at a time. You are looking for a pudding consistency and a slightly sweet flavour. Once achieved, take the pot off the heat and cover with a lid as it will form a skin like pudding.
Serving - ladle into bowls and place a dollop of margarine and some more sugar or sweetener and sprinkle with cinnamon. A true Norwegian batch will, by itself taste creamy and sometimes a little touch of sweetness to it. A true Norwegian will swirl the margarine, sugar and cinnamon throughout the bowl and lick it clean. :)
(note: although you can use any brand of soy milk, I'd strongly recommend Silk or one of the other brands that tends to have a solid white color rather than translucency. Part of this dish's appeal is it's pretty color. The translucent types of soy milk tend to end up looking brownish at the end of the cooking and it is altogether unappealing, though tasty.)
If you find that you are struggling with the roux (flour, margarine) mixing with the 'milk' and/or can't control the lumps... you can instead try starting with a cornstarch and water mix (a couple of Tablespoons of cornstarch with equal water) into the first cup of 'milk' and keep adding 'milk' and intermittently adding cornstarch to get the pudding-like consistency.
ALSO - this is a roux mix so if you ever want to make biscuits and white gravy you just take out the sugar and cinnamon and add in LOTS of pepper and increase the salt by about 1 teaspoon If you cook it a little longer it will move from pudding-like consistency to gravy-like consistency.