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Gruel
This video is a how-to video
that explains how to cook Southern style Potato Gruel.
Also known as thickening potatoes.
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"September is National Potato Month!"
"January is National Oatmeal Month"





Gruel!  What is it?
This article gives a brief definition of what gruel is, but gives full description of how it is used and cooked in the south, potato style.  Recipes are included.

Many years ago in very poor villages, the people use to eat a dish called gruel. This dish was made from a type of grain like rye, barley or oats. ( see National Oatmeal Month ) In some areas of the world rice was also used as gruel. Even bread (see Bread Sauce)This meal was either stewed with water or milk if milk was available, then served with salt for their main meal. To change it up for more of a sweet flavor, sugar and milk would replace the water and salt. This dish was usually stewed to be thick but in hard times gruel was made to be very thin so it would stretch to feed all the family that it was needed to feed.
Believe it or not, in this day and time, Gruel is actually a favorite meal for children in America. Yes that’s right! We know longer call it gruel of course, it is now known simply as “oatmeal” or porridge, but still a favorite for kids just the same!

Our Grandparents favorite way to eat oatmeal is likely to be with milk and a smidgen of sugar. A bit on the plain side but always served with buttered toast. The younger generation has evolved to eating oatmeal with brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon or even fruits like raisins or apples cooked in the oatmeal.

Potato Gruel
In the South, families have grown up with potato gruel for many years. Potatoes were cheap and easily grown in the garden. You could have potatoes all year round when kept in a cool dry place like the food cellar. The south has so many potato dishes that I imagine you could go for a whole month without ever eating the same thing twice.  Now, potato gruel is still a mainstay for meals and it’s truly a comfort food. There’s nothing better than a big cottage bowl of potato gruel with crusty bread on the side so every drop of gravy can be sopped up. It’s truly heaven!

Recipes
A list of recipes gathered from my own family’s recipe box.

Potato Gruel (the way my family ate it)
Cut up 1 small potato into large thumb size dices.
Boil on med. boil for 10 minutes in 2 cups of water.
Add ½ teaspoon salt, pinch of white pepper.
Turn heat down to low and add 2 large tablespoon of butter.
While stirring, add 2 tablespoons of flour in a little at a time.
Keep stirring softly until all the flour is all dissolved and it makes thick gravy.
By now the potatoes will just be starting to loose their square shape and start to look more rounded, but still firm in the middle. This is exactly what you want because the outer edges of the potatoes that mix with the flour water is actually what makes the flavor of the gruel so good. The dish will turn out to be ½ gravy and ½ potatoes.

You serve each person a cottage style bowl of their very own, with a huge wedge of warm crusted bread. No fork for this meal! You just sop up the gravy and chunks of potatoes with the bread and wash it down with a cold glass of milk. You just cannot eat this without the bread!

Potato Pepper Gruel
This recipe is prepared the very same way as the “Potato Gruel” recipe above….. But instead of a pinch of white pepper, you use ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. This makes the dish speckled in color and very peppery to the taste.
My very favorite way to eat it!


Potato Gruel with Chicken
This recipe is prepared the very same way as “Potato Gruel” but you ad 1 can of chopped chicken to the pot or any left over chicken meat that you have. If you have chicken stock that you can replace the water with, this would be even better.
Taste great for lunch!


Tomato Potato Gruel
This recipe is prepared the very same way as “Potato Gruel” but you ad 1 tablespoon of bacon grease and 1 fresh chopped up tomato from the garden. This dish is popular pored over fresh hot homemade biscuits and ate while still really hot. 
Taste great for breakfast.


Sausage Potato Gruel
This recipe is prepared the very same way as “Potato Gruel” but you ad 4 oz. of smoked sausage to the pot right at the first of the boiling process. Serve this with cornbread cooked in a cast iron skillet.
Taste great for supper!


Chip Beef Potato Gruel
This recipe is prepared the very same way as “Potato Gruel” but you ad 4 to 6oz. of chipped beef. 1 small onion if you like onion and put in at the first of the boil.  Many times 1 cup of beef stock is replaced for 1 cup of water.  Serve this over toasted thick bread.
Does this remind you of anything? Leave out the potatoes and you have chip- beef- on toast.
But I would suggest you leave in the potatoes and have it gruel style.
Taste great for supper!

Potato and flour has long been used as a thickening agent in southern cooking for ages which lay the trail to potato gruel.  Potato Gruel was a staple food for families during hard times and it was eaten as a main meal.  It’s hard to find recipes in cook books for gruels but it is happily made and served on the side, at the best southern tables around.

So you see, Gruel has a long history of days gone by but still continues to be eaten to this day. You can make lima bean gruel, onion gruel, veggie gruel and the list goes on and on. Gruel is excellent when used as a thickening for your homemade soups and stews and chilies too.


Gruel! What is it?  Gruel is true Southern sopping food!
Made with oatmeal……sop it with toast.
Made with potatoes…..sop it with fresh baked crusted bread.
Made with tomatoes…..sop it with biscuits.
Made with sausage……sop it with cornbread.

Author: Pamela Price Svoboda

The article above "Gruel, What is it?"  is available under a Content Usage License in order to copy it and use it in your publications.  That means that you must pay money to be able to place it in your publication.  For more information about this Articles Click Here.  For more information about other articles that we have available Click Here
This article gives a brief definition of what gruel is, but gives full description of how it is used and cooked in the south, potato style.
Recipes are included.




Lima Bean Potato Gruel

This recipe is a true Southern meal from days gone by.  All you need is warm crusted bread, your fingers and your all set for a down home comfort meal.

Recipe
(The way my family ate it)
Cut up 1 small potato into large thumb size dices.
Boil on med. boil for 10 minutes in 2 cups of water.
Add ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper.
Add 2 large tablespoon of butter then turn heat to medium.
While stirring, add 2 tablespoons of flour in a little at a time.
Keep stirring softly until all the flour is all dissolved and it makes thick gravy.
Turn heat on low.  Add 1 can of lima beans. Do not drain. Gruel will thin down a bit.
Place lid on pot and let sit on low heat for 10 more minutes until thick.

By now the potatoes will just be starting to loose their square shape and start to look more rounded, but still firm in the middle. This is exactly what you want because the outer edges of the potatoes that mix with the flour water, is actually what makes the flavor of the gruel so good. The dish will turn out to be 1/3 gravy and 1/3 potatoes and 1/3 Lima beans.

To ad even more flavor, drain the lima beans and replace the bean juice with chicken stock.

Serving Suggestions:
You serve each person a full bowl of their very own. A cottage style bowl that is thick made of ceramic or pottery.  These bowls keep the heat in best and keep the gravy from cooling to quick. 

Serve with a huge wedge of warm crusted homemade bread. No fork needed for this meal!  You just sop up the gravy, beans and chunks of potatoes with the bread and your fingers! Wash it down with a cold glass of milk. You just cannot eat this without the bread!

You have permission to copy this recipe called Lima Bean Potato Gruel and use it in your publication as long as you leave this resource box intact and link remains clickable if used on the Internet.
This recipe is taken from the Gruel recipe collection at
http://www.gone-ta-pott.com/gruel.html
An Entertainment Directory like No Other!
Author: Pamela Price Svoboda


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