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.