Thursday, January 10, 2013

Steel Cut Oats

At the risk of seeming like a character on Protlandia I am about to blog about oatmeal. 

Hear me out. 

There's oatmeal and then there's oatmeal. There's "oatmeal" that comes in a packet to which you add boiling water or microwave, and then there's steel cut oats. There's mushy oatmeal that I wouldn't feed to a puppy, and then there's steel cut oats. There's bland oatmeal that makes cardboard seem appetizing, and then there's steel cut oats. 

Let's talk steel cut oats.  

Besides the fact that they come in that nifty tin can (OMG, I love tin cans!!!) steel cut oats, also known as Irish oats, are just flat out, hands down, a cut above any other oatmeal you've had before. Don't get me wrong, I love the Quaker (Old Fashioned, not the quick, unless it's for cookies, but I digress). However, in the dead of winter, when the sky is overcast and the bird feeder is hosting only the one crazy squirrel, and the pond pump is frozen in a half a foot of ice, and you won't be going anywhere without first scraping off your windshield, you need some serious oatmeal. In the face of all that, there's something courageous and defiant about steel cut oats.   

Yes, they take about 45 minutes from start to finish. Yes, you sort of have to keep an eye on them as they cook. But is that really so high a price to pay for a bowl of plump and toothy grains that can only be described as "breakfast risotto"? And yes, there are sexier things you could have for breakfast, like French toast or eggs Benedict, but you almost have to dress up for them. With these oats it's perfectly acceptable, dare I say even preferable, to stay in your jammies.

Finally, there's a saying you might have heard that goes something like this- In England oats are for horses, in Scotland oats are for men. And nowhere are there better horses and nowhere are there better men. Hmmm, maybe oats are sexy after all.

steel cut oats

1 cup steel cut oats 
2 cups water
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup raisins
maple syrup for serving
additional milk or cream for serving

Bring water and milk to a boil in a medium heavy bottomed pot. Add oats, and stir until mixture thickens slightly (about 2 or 3 minutes. Lower the heat and simmer the oats, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add the raisins and simmer for 5 more minutes. Take off the heat, cover the pot and let sit another 5 minutes. Serve with maple syrup and additional milk or cream if desired. Makes 4 servings. 

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