Steel Cut & Quick Cook Oatmeal

February 2nd, 2011 / Comments 4

To ease our entry into the white winter world of snow and ice we began a new tradition of starting the day with steaming bowls of oatmeal.

winter bloom c egbert Steel Cut & Quick Cook Oatmeal

Charles is the oatmeal chef. He wakes before I do, retrieves the newspaper, shovels the walk, sprinkles sawdust on the icy patches and refreshes the fire in the woodstove. When I appear from our bedroom, he asks “Is this an oatmeal morning?”

“Sure,” I mumble, (I’m not very talkative until I’ve had a cup of tea), and he sets to work. Here’s how he does it:

Oatmeal by Charles

He uses a small glass tumbler from Tunisia that holds about four ounces of water as a measure for both rolled oats and water to make two modest servings. He puts one glassful of non-instant rolled oats, a pinch of salt and two glassfuls of water into a one quart Pyrex measuring cup. He zaps the oatmeal on high for three minutes and then lets it sit for two minutes before serving it. He tops my bowl of oatmeal with a teaspoon of brown sugar and a large glug of whole milk, zaps it for thirty seconds to heat the milk and serves it with my favorite thin antique silver spoon from my Nana. Charles tops his bowl of oatmeal with a spoonful of brown sugar and a generous glug of soymilk. Charles reads the weather forecast in the paper and I check my email and the weather in Sicily as we make our way into the new day.

Oatmeal called porridge or brose appeared frequently in a series of books set in Scotland in late 1700’s that I read when we were in Sicily last year. Oats are better suited than wheat as a crop in

Scotland because of the short wet growing season. Brose is actually uncooked oatmeal that has been heated in a dry pot to toast it and impart a nutty fragrance. It is served topped with butter or cream. Unlike the rolled oats that Charles microwaves in minutes, the porridge made in the 18th century was made from oats that were steamed and ground and then cooked for at least ten minutes.

I offered to help with food for a breakfast meeting last Saturday and decided that rather than making modern, rolled oats I would make a pot of oatmeal with steel cut oats from the coop. Steel cut oats are the whole oat grains that have been cut into two or three pieces after the outer hard husks have been removed. Since the meeting began at eight and I didn’t want to be cooking and stirring at seven I used a slow cooker and the oats cooked for ten hours while I slept. Here’s how I did it:

Oatmeal with Steel Cut Oats

On Friday night, just before I went to sleep, I stirred together two cups of steel cut oats, one cup of raisins, eight cups of cold water and two teaspoons of kosher salt in a slow cooker. I put the lid on the crock, set the slow cooker to cook for ten hours on low and went to bed. The next morning, I packed up a bag of brown sugar, a cup of sliced dried apricots, a cup of slivered almonds, a cup of sunflower seeds, half a cup of unsweetened shredded coconut, a pint of blueberries, a container of Greek yogurt, half a gallon of whole milk, and the oatmeal in the slow cooker, and braved the cold to get to the meeting.

Our son Garth once described oatmeal as a food that stuck to his lungs. I’m not sure how that feels but I think that the cozy bowls of oatmeal played a part in making our meeting, filled with thoughtful, generous conversation, so successful. This meeting was the first in a series of three and I’m making oatmeal for the next one so there will be a second chance for the folks who couldn’t make it to the first meeting to try a bowl of slow cooked, steel cut oatmeal.I made a smaller quantity of oatmeal by using the ratio of one part oats to four parts of water. I cooked it overnight in a souffle dish sitting in two inches of water in the slow cooker. One cup of oats made six generous servings. Dried apricots, figs or cranberries are tasty substitutes for raisins. If you cook oatmeal without dried fruit, offering an array of diced fresh or dried fruits and berries along with sliced almonds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and honey, maple syrup, brown or white sugar is an easy way to create an oatmeal smorgasbord for your next morning meeting.

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• 4 Responses to “Steel Cut & Quick Cook Oatmeal”

  • jean graubert says:

    my mother used to toss a handful of these into chicken soup instead of rice. it was my favorite ingredient. she called it “huber grits” for years i looked for them by that name in grocery stores. nobody ever knew what i was talking about.then one day i came across mccans irish oats, tried them and had an ah hah moment. we adopted them as our extended family’s post thanksgiving breakfast. i soak them the night before, the first person awake friday morning starts them on low heat and everybody enjoys this easy breakfast. i pour buttermilk on and skip the sweeteners which is how most irish country people like them.the cold and tart buttermilk is a great contrast to the hot slightly crunchy yet creamy oats. no stirring, just a little milk in each spoonful of cereal.
    one caveat: these oats stale faster than our rolled oats so buy them fresh(maybe from the coop)and dont keep them too long.

  • Drick says:

    I do not think I have had steel cut, or did not know it… so these are better for you than rolled? taste better? and what about texture? I think I will have to try and find out

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