Imagine yourself poor and starving, making the best with what you have to feed your family. This is exactly how the Andalusian Polea Porridge was created, a common dish consumed during the Spanish Civil War.

Sometimes you come across a recipe that is quite plain. But your evil mind wants to accompany the dish with a playful, forbidden and magical ingredient. Such was the case with my Andalusian Polea Porridge with Roasted Celery Root which was inspired by the mandrake root seen (and scene) in the movie Pan’s Labyrinth. Celery root was a safer alternative!

Andalusian Polea porridge recipe

Andalusian Polea porridge recipe

Pan’s Labyrinth is an awesome movie that I just saw for the third time. It is a 2006 Spanish-Mexican dark fantasy film written and directed by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. And it stars the brilliant and young Ivana Baquero as Ofelia. Set during the Spanish Civil War in 1944, we are immersed in somber cruel with mean souls and potentially manipulative beings.

And that is all I am going to say for now because I did a video for this recipe and I ended up narrating my usual movie spiel there, explained my inspiration from the movie, share really curious facts about the mandrake root, and the recipe!
Seriously you do not want to miss the bit about the mandrake root….

Food ‘n Flix is hosted this month by Katharina at Pretty Cake Machine! In this monthly group a host picks a movie of their choice that pertains to food. Everyone watches the movie and then makes a recipe which the film inspired. It can be any recipe you want. Join us!

Polea, Wartime Fare

Food (ish) sightings Pan’s Labyrinth: burnt coffee, beef, chicken, pig, pepper, milk from cow with honey, earth smells, flour, salt, oil, bacon, olives, ration cards, orujo, cheese, big bugs, giant toad, potatoes, wine, bread, mandrake root and blood, and of course the sumptuous feast where I only spotted grapes, pies, pumpkin, ham, aspic, eyes, apples, pomegranate, berries and chorizo.

Andalusian Polea porridge recipe

The Andalusian Polea Porridge, sort of a breakfast soup, is a perfect example of a recipe created by the imaginative poor people during the Spanish Civil War. Ingredients were rationed at that time. Polea was made with water, flour, salt, anise, milk and sugar.

The porridge was often topped with fruit, honey or cinnamon, and was usually served with fried bread. I topped mine with roasted celery root to mimic an impressive scene in the movie with the human like mandrake root.

Andalusian Polea Porridge with Roasted Celery Root

Imagine yourself poor ans starving, making the best with what you have to feed your family. This is exactly how the Andalusian Polea Porridge was created, a common dish consumed during the Spanish Civil War.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 6 portions


  • 1 celery root
  • oil
  • maple syrup
  • 4 or 5 heaping tablespoons flour
  • 1 liter milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 lemon peel
  • Salt
  • 2 heaping tablespoons honey


  • Peel and cube the celery root. On a lined baking sheet, toss the celery root with oil and maple syrup. Roast in the oven at 375 F until very golden and tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Heat the milk in a saucepan on low-medium heat. Dilute the flour with some water to form a uniform paste and mix in vigorously to the milk. Add the lemon peel, the cinnamon and a touch of salt. Bring slowly to a gentle boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, to prevent lumps from forming.
  • Once the mixture has thickened a bit, remove it from the heat and stir in the honey. Transfer to a shallow serving dish and leave to cool, the porridge will thicken. Top with the roasted celery root and sprinkle with honey and cinnamon.

Another wartime recipe: Carrot and Potato Mash

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Andalusian Polea porridge recipe