For a few months now, my husband and daughter have been on an oatmeal-for-breakfast kick. I enjoy oatmeal on occasion, provided it’s the brown sugar and cinnamon or maple flavored kind. Also, I’m a little bit afraid to eat it again since it was one of the only foods to make my stomach turn while I was pregnant. Recently, I took a trip to a local natural foods store for an ingredient I needed to try my hand at making homemade mozzarella cheese. Since I didn’t want to just buy a $0.99 package of citric acid, I grabbed a bag of steel cut oats to try. I looked up a few recipes and we cooked it on the stove top the next morning. Steel cut oats are different from regular rolled oats in that they are the whole oat kernel cut up into small pieces while rolled oats have the bran removed and are rolled flat for faster cooking. Therefore, they are better for you because they have more fiber and are a “whole food.” On the stove top, steel cut oats take 35-40 minutes to cook through. This works if you get up extra early in the morning or cook it on the weekends. I also looked up ways to cook it in a crockpot. Worried about how they might scorch in our large crockpot, I discovered a water bath method which worked perfectly and I liked the hands-off approach. Plus, you can prep it the night before and wake up to a warm, hearty breakfast. Or do like I did and cook it during the day while I was home to monitor it and then transfer it to an airtight container in the fridge to warm up the throughout the week. Oh and by the way, the cheese-making project was a total flop! I think it was a problem with the type of milk I bought. Oh well, at least it led me to this yummy breakfast recipe.
Stovetop Steel Cut Oats
3 C. water
1 C. whole milk
1 C. steel cut oats
1 T. unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1. Bring water and milk to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until just beginning to foam; add oats and toast, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until golden, 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
2. Stir toasted oats into the simmering liquid, reduce heat to medium-low; simmer gently, until mixture thickens and resembles gravy, about 20 minutes. Add salt and stir lightly. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally until oats absorb almost all of the liquid and oatmeal is thick and creamy, , about 7 to 10 minutes. Off heat, let oatmeal stand uncovered 5 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with brown sugar and cinnamon, if desired.
Makes about 4 servings. Total cooking time is 35-40 min.
Crockpot Steel Cut Oats
Same ingredients as above. Complete toasting step, however, place oats into an oven-safe bowl. Top with milk and water and salt. Stir.
*Toasting the oats first isn’t necessary, it just gives them a bit nuttier flavor. I’ve cooked them both ways and they turn out fine without the toasting step.
Form a ring out of crumpled aluminum foil and place in the bottom of a large crockpot. Place bowl of oat mixture onto ring. This step lifts the bowl off the bottom of the crock to avoid the possibility of cracking either the bowl or the crock. Fill crock with water up to the level of oats in the bowl. Cover and cook on low about 6 hours. Gently lift bowl out of water-filled crock and either serve or place into an airtight container to eat later.
Method adapted from Ann Kroeker