Proper Oatmeal

5 Aug

I’ve been eating oatmeal since I was young. Apple cinnamon was my favorite – I’d dump two packets into a bowl, add hot water, stir, and wait for the tacky mush to coagulate. There was something satisfying about that, but it’s lost the charm over the years.

It wasn’t until I spent some time in Scotland and Ireland that I realized how delicious slow-cooked oatmeal can be. When I studied in Edinburgh my flatmate was from Northern Ireland, so upon meeting we quickly began comparing Irish and American recipes and food trends. ‘Proper’ oatmeal is, in fact, completely different from the packet version.

You have a few options in preparing a steel cut oatmeal (I use McCann’s). If you’d like to have a shorter cooking time, you can soak the oatmeal overnight or use a pressure cooker. Or, if you’re like me, you can just save oatmeal for weekend breakfasts and enjoy the slow-cook process.

Proper Oatmeal (½ C will make two large servings)

½ C McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal
1 1/2 C water
pinch of salt (optional)

In a pot bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, add the oatmeal and salt, turn heat to low, stir to avoid clumping, and cover (just like making rice). Cook for about 30 minutes and stirring every so often, tasting as you go. I like mine somewhat undercooked, so it usually takes about 25 minutes.

I started adding milk on top after the perfect Irish breakfast at the Ariel House, a bed and breakfast just outside Dublin. Once you’ve made the oatmeal with water, add your desired amount of milk on top, and mix in.

You can also add fruits, berries, nuts, and sweeteners (maple syrup, honey, agave, brown sugar) on top. I used bananas, raisins, and a sprinkle of brown sugar.


3 Responses to “Proper Oatmeal”

  1. Jill August 19, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    I am happy that it is almost oatmeal weather! When I have extra time I like this version.

    1 cup steel-cut oats
    3 cups of water
    pinch of sea salt – optional
    ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    ½ cup raisins or fresh diced apples
    ¼ cup ground flax seed
    ½ cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pecans)
    natural sweetener to taste, such as honey or pure maple syrup
    top with rice, almond or oat milk – optional

    Boil water and sea salt in a saucepan, then turn down heat and add the oats.
    Stir regularly and cook for 30 minutes
    Add the raisins or apples, cinnamon and vanilla when 5 minutes left to cook.
    Turn off heat and stir in the flax seeds and nuts. Cover and let sit for several minutes.
    Add sweetener, top with fresh fruit, and serve with rice, almond or oat milk.
    Serves 2

    p.s. I don’t know what I was thinking with the instant oatmeal while you were growing up instead of cooking the yummy healthy homemade oatmeal.

    • Liz August 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

      Thanks for that great recipe, I look forward to making my oatmeal a bit more exciting!

      Compared to what most kids eat (cereals with lots of sugar, food coloring, etc), instant oatmeal isn’t such a bad thing. It’s amazing how I look forward to eating steal cut oatmeal, though!

  2. Elizabeth August 7, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    I LOVE steel cut oatmeal. I don’t know why but I so rarely make it myself. Nothing compares to it.

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