02 February 2010

Steel-cut Oats

Oatmeal is one aspect of childhood I seem to have missed out on. It’s a texture thing, because I also hated cereal with milk in it (still do), bananas (still do), yogurt (now I’m kinda “meh”), and any kind of cooked egg (I’m totally over that, thankfully). It's taken me twenty years to work though my fear of “soupy,” gluey foods, foods that might drip down your chin in a sticky panache of different consistencies, and I still haven't made much progress.

Somewhere in my brain I knew that it was possible to make oatmeal—or steel-cut oats, or rolled oats, or quick oats (note to self: learn the differences)—from scratch, but I've mostly believed that the life of oatmeal ended at individual Quaker Oats packets. Aside from backpacking, when one is willfully desperate, I wanted to keep those things away from me.

I recently reread Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking—which is just such an awesome cookbook, everyone should own it—and came to her recipe for Steel-cut Oats. Feeling brave, I decided to gave it a try. I’m happy to report that steel-cut oats have revolutionized breakfast for me. I have reason go get out of bed. This oatmeal is deliciously chewy, will fill your kitchen with the handsome aroma of a slow-cooked grain, and is super-dooper easy.
Homemade Steel-cut Oats

4 servings

The genius of Swanson’s recipe is that you make a large batch at once, and then just reheat it in the morning. Still, I halve the recipe because I’d rather just make it twice in a week than have it sit in the fridge for seven days.

To do this you’ll need 3 cups water, 3/4 cup steel-cut oats, and a big pinch of salt. There are two cooking methods:

1) Boil water, stir in oatmeal and salt, and cook over low heat until it’s reached desired consistency.

2) Pour boiling water over oatmeal and salt, stir, cover the pot, let sit overnight. Reheat in the morning.
I’ve tried both methods, and they both work, though for the latter method I had to finish cooking the oatmeal in the morning—it was still a little too “soupy” for my tastes.

The other genius thing about her recipe is that she offers seven different toppings—one for each day of the week! I’m still stuck on #1: toasted walnuts plus a drizzle of pomogranate molasses (I also add a pinch of brown sugar, which is no-no in Swansonland because it’s highly processed, but: baby steps). If you’re new to pomogranate molasses (reduced pomogranate syrup, a staple of some Middle Eastern cuisines) and you try it on oatmeal, you might find yourself wanting to add it to everything you eat. It's tart jolt is impossible to hide, and a little goes a long way.

1 comment:

  1. those walnuts look VERY good.

    i actually feel the same as you about oatmeal, so i'm considering trying this.



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