When the weather turns cold, and I have to dig out the sweaters and scarves for the morning commute, I want something warm and comforting for breakfast when I get to work. Enter oatmeal. I used to eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast in my high school years, but like everyone else, it was out of the little Quaker packets. But now that I’m gluten-free, the packets are out – and I’m actually glad, otherwise I may not have ever discovered the magic of steel cut oats.
Steel-cut oats require some prep time, but they cook up so beautifully – toothy and creamy at the same time – almost risotto-like. Cook a pot of these, and you too, may forsake those little brown packets forever. And you can flavor the oats any way you like. I’ve been enjoying lots of apples and cinnamon in my oats, since the local apples are still around. I cook mine in my fancy rice maker that Gluten-Free Girl talked me into buying, which is now one of my very favorite things in my kitchen. It makes beautiful rice, porridge and slow-cooked meals.
1 1/3 cups steel cut oats
2 cups apple cider (or unsweetened apple juice, or water)
2 cups almond milk (cow, goat, rice, or almond milks all work fine too)
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, cherries, currants, diced apricots, cherries)
1 T cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice, or cake spice)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 T vanilla
2 T maple syrup
If you have a fancy rice maker:
- Combine all ingredients above in rice maker bowl. Stir. Set rice maker to the “porridge” setting, and walk away. Stir a couple of times in the 90 minute cook-time, to ensure oats don’t stick to the bowl. When the cycle is done, let the oats rest on the “keep warm cycle” for another 20 minutes, then ladle out into bowls and serve, or tuck away in tupperware containers to save for later.
- Combine all ingredients above in a medium, non-stick pot (minimum 2qt). Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. You want to simmer this at a bare simmer, with the oats offering up the occasional bubbly burble, but nowhere near a full boil. Stir every ten minutes or so, after 30 minutes, the oats should be very close, and you’ll need to taste them to see if they are done to your liking. You may need to add more water if they’re getting dried out. If they are just a bit toothy yet, and still a little saucy, turn off the burner, and let them sit for 20 minutes or so, before spooning out to serve or store.
Note: When re-heating in a microwave, you’ll need to add a bit of water to loosen the warmed oats.