Monday, November 08, 2010

steel cut oatmeal on a cloudy autumn day


We all need more foods like steel cut oatmeal, food that is at its best when autumn has woken you up with its coldest, cloudiest day.

I can take little credit for the delicious bowl pictured above; cowboy made breakfast happen on Saturday.  These steel cut oats were toasted and then slow-cooked on the stove top.  Each spoonful was creamy with chewy kernels that popped in your mouth, in a way that rolled oats could simply never hope to do.  On top: locally grown California persimmons (they are back in season!), toasted walnuts, and a generous sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon.

Adapted from Chowhound
Makes 4 servings

1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups heated 2% milk (we used soy, which also works well)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch salt

Toast the steel cut oats in a skillet over medium heat until they are golden and have a nutty aroma.  Bring water to a boil.  Add the toasted oats and return to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook uncovered, stirring periodically, for twenty minutes.  Add the hot milk, return to a slow boil and then reduce to a simmer for another five to seven minutes, stirring about every minute or so while the oats thicken.  Stir in the brown sugar, spices, and salt.  Turn off the heat and let stand five minutes before serving.

Toppings can easily be whatever you have on hand - sliced apples or pears, dried cranberries or raisins, toasted nuts, maple syrup, brown sugar...

On a side note, besides being such a creamy, nourishing treat, homemade steel cut oatmeal also reminds us of how cost-effective it can be to invest time in making good food.  Whole Foods sells bulk organic steel cut oats at about $1.49 per pound.  That translates to roughly $0.51 of oats for this whole batch (which serves 4 people).