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!
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.
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
- 1 celery root
- maple syrup
- 4 or 5 heaping tablespoons flour
- 1 liter milk
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lemon peel
- 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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A lot of Filipino dishes have humble roots like this making use of what you got to feed the family.
Root vegetables are definitely underrated, we need to bring these family rcipes back.
So creative! Love that you took inspiration from the roots!
Thanks Amy 🙂
Never cooked with celery roots. I am so intrigued by it and I am wanting to taste this porridge 😀
Oh it is a great vegetable, can you get it where you are now? It is perfect for you this porridge, not very sweet at all 🙂
Your recipe contribution to Food n Flix intrigued me, but what I enjoyed most was learning more about this Andalasian Polea Porridge, i have never heard of it before. Your presentation def. elevates to something desirable than a peasant wartime dish. I do like celeriac, but its quite expensive in the Uk and I try to grow it
Thank you Shaheen, glad you liked the post as much as the recipe, in its definitely gentrified presentation 🙂
OMG that celery root is very funny 🙂 looks like it is enjoying its time so much. Nice recipe, although having the dramatic background of war. I need to check that movie soon.
Thanks Amira, haha glad you like the creepy celery root in the shot 🙂
This sounds so good, I love celeriac and this looks delicious.
OMG finally someone else who you usually calls it celeriac, I thought I was alone lol.
I do like celery root, but (of course!) had never thought of using it for porridge or any breakfast dish! I’m willing to try a bowl!!
Liz I think am the only person on earth that would pare it with breakfast lol, but it works.
Thanks for all the background history Evelyne. It really made the post come alive for me.
My pleasure Wendy 🙂
I am in a meeting learning about Google Chrome but instead I am checking out these wonderful posts. So, I will have to watch your video in a bit. Truly inspired!
That is funny, I have been procrastinating all day at work lol. Thank you and hope you enjoy the video!
I know I love celery root and this dish sounds great. I loved loved loved seeing you in your video!
Glad you are already a celery root fan and thank you so much for watching the video. So glad you liked it 😀
The picture with the celery root “bathing” is so funny Evelyne…I have never used celery root…I must give this a try…thanks for the inspiration my dear.
I hope you are having a great week 🙂
Ha ha glad you liked my humor on that shot (only one who mentioned it 😉 ) Oh it is a great vegetable you will enjoy it I am sure. Have agreat week Juliana!
Celery root doesn’t get nearly enough love. It’s good stuff! And this looks like such an interesting dish. Fun post — wonderful read. Thanks!
I totally agre even the cashier at my supermarket made a fuss about it and asked me how to prepare it.
That celery root looks pretty fun! The porridge is very different from what I remember as a kid..delicious all the same!
Thanks Angie,oh you use to have something somewhat similar? how so? I am curious.
War time really is the mother of all necessity. You’ve listed another movie I’ve never heard of.
Yes lost of dishes we have now come from war time, we just adapted them to the bounty of food we now have. They were resourceful.
I was going to say celery root + maple syrup is a weird combo but honestly, celery root is a pretty neutral flavor, so why the F not.
And now I am going to figure out how to watch the Labyrinth so I can freak myself out! Cause for some reason, that movie freaks me out !
The maple syrup is not a big flavor player – but yeah goes well enough with it – it is more to help caramelize while roasting. D00d, the Pale Man freaks me out every time!!!!!! Get your freak on!
What an interesting recipe. Certainly sounds like an old wartime dish where you made the best of what you have. Very creative and interesting pudding.
Thanks MJ, it certainly is a plainer one but amazing what they could come up with to make food that at last made you feel fuller.
I did watch Pan’s Labyrinth but I didn’t notice or don’t remember those food references! Well done Eve! Off to watch your video now 😀
Yes, definitely more food then I thought in there Lorraine. Yay this one you have seen before!
I love the historical take on this theme!
Thanks so much Courtney!
WHOA!!! You make me want to try all the things! This looks awesome!
He he, again my evil plan is working one you Gingi! Thanks!
post Interesting and proves that people are resourceful. Celery root, mandrake, funny! Guess I’ll be looking for celery root next time at the store.
Ah, resourceful, that was the word I was searcing for! Yes they were. Oh glad you will get some celery root maybe, an underused awesem veggie!
I can see why they would have made this porridge in wartime…it definitely seems like stick-to-your-ribs fare. I’m a huge fan of celery root (plus, love that it mimics the mandrake) and I’m totally digging the flavors that you chose to accent this. I’d love to try it!
The porridge reminds me of when you have a smoothie for a meal and you do not feel full becasue you did not chew…the porridge helps to feel that psychological eating process for sure. Glad you liked my inspiration 🙂