For years, my favorite oatmeal was this one: rolled oats cooked in milk, gently sweetened and spiced. I stand by those oats. There’s a little bit of magic in them. But I think there’s room in a healthy, vibrant household for more than one really good oatmeal, as long as the two don’t directly compete for mouthshare. That’s where these steel-cut oats factor in.
Steel-cut oats, or as we like to call them here in England, pinhead oats (because of their shape — why, what were you going to say?), achieved cult status among food bloggers a couple of years ago, and with good reason. Although the only major difference between steel-cut and rolled oats is the way the grain is cut and processed, a porridge made of steel-cut oats is a completely different beast. It’s a little bit chewy, the slightest bit crunchy, and has a much more complex flavor than its rolled counterpart. Steel-cut oats stand up especially well to bold toppings like the perfectly autumnal trifecta of figs, apples, and walnuts. Try stirring in a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseed after cooking and christening your bowl with a splash of almond milk. Vegan or no, these steel-cut oats are a solid way to start the day.
Recipe: Perfect Steel-Cut Oats
- 1 cup steel-cut oats
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 to 4 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseeds
- Chopped fresh figs, apples, and walnuts, for topping (or substitute your favorite fresh or dried fruit and nuts)
- 1/2 cup almond or other non-dairy milk, optional
- In a medium pot, combine the oats, water, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then cover and reduce heat to low or medium-low, to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and oats are tender but still chewy, 40 to 45 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in maple syrup and flaxseeds. Spoon into bowls and top with fruit, nuts, and a splash of almond milk.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4