You promised yourself you were going to eat clean. You also resolved to eat a healthy breakfast every morning. Now, here we are, well into February, and you simply cannot stand the thought of another cold boiled egg from the fridge or one more raw apple when the morning temperature is hovering around 20 degrees.
How about a nice steaming bowl of oatmeal?
I see you making that face.
Well, if your idea of oatmeal is the gooey stuff that comes from little over-processed packets laden with artificial flavorings… I’d make that face too.
Allow me to introduce you to Steel-Cut Oats.
Also known as Irish Oats, Pinhead Oats and Coarse Oatmeal; Steel-Cut oats are the whole grain with just the outer husk removed before being chopped into two or three pieces. Because they have not been steamed or processed like rolled, quick or instant/microwave oats, they retain their nutty flavor and have a wonderful chewy texture.
If you’re like many who have become dependent on 30-second microwave meals, you may feel a little intimidated by anything that has to be cooked for 25-30 minutes. On the bright side, Steel Cut Oats hold up well to pre-cooking. I like to prepare a pot full on Sunday mornings and reheat portions during the week when I don’t have a lot of time.
However, once you’ve tasted these tiny health-bombs with their delightful nutty flavor and chewy texture, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been eating it all along.
I like to intensify the nutty flavor by lightly toasting the grain before adding the liquid.
Place a 1 ½ to 2 quart heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pre-warmed pan.
Once the butter has melted, stir in 1 cup of steel-cut oats along with ¼ to ½ teaspoon of kosher salt to taste. (I use closer to ½ teaspoon)
Stir often with a wooden spoon until slightly toasted. You’ll know its done when you smell a nutty aroma and the grain has darkened slightly in color.
Next, add 3 cups of boiling water to the oats and reduce the heat enough to maintain a bare simmer for 25 minutes. Do not stir at ALL during the cook time or the oats could breakdown.
After cooking for 25-minutes, gently stir in 1 cup of warm whole milk and continue cooking for an additional 7 to 10-minutes. Spoon into a serving bowls and add any toppings you desire.
Some of my favorite flavorings are:
Warm fruit compote.
Chopped fresh or home canned peaches
A tablespoon of dark brown sugar with a dash or two of cinnamon and a small handful of chopped nuts
A spoonful of homemade blackberry jam or strawberry preserves
Refrigerate leftovers for later use.
Reheat by placing desired amount in a microwave safe container and heating at full power, in 1-minute increments until desired temperature is reached. Oatmeal thickens the longer it rests after cooking. To thin, simply stir in a small amount of water or milk, after heating until desired consistency is reached.