Steel-Cut My Oats

I've never been a big fan of oatmeal, or any hot mushy cereal. Yik. But a few years ago, I discovered steel-cut oats, which are also known as coarse-cut oats, Irish oats, Scotch oats, and pinhead oats (I like that name the best). Steel-cut oats are chopped oat groats, which only have the outer hull removed, so they are more nutritious than the more popular rolled oats. They are also nuttier, more flavorful, and retain a chewy texture. Like most whole grains, however, they take a while to cook, so you have to plan ahead. Most upscale supermarkets carry steel-cut oats, and Bob's Red Mill makes a superior packaged product. If you can find them, it's a good idea to purchase these in bulk as they tend to be fresher.

These are perfect for a rainy, chilly winter weekend morning when you are lounging around reading the paper and have 45 minutes to kill. I like my oatmeal with fruit, preferably seasonal, and since I typically eat this in the winter, I often make it with sauteed apples. A drizzle of pure maple syrup is also delicious.

Steel-Cut Oats with Apples

Serves 4

Ingredients:

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For the oats:
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the apples:
2-3 medium apples, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon

Preparation:

To make the oats, in a large saucepan, bring the water and milk to a slow boil. Meanwhile, melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a frying pan and add the oats. Toast the oats for about 15 minutes, until golden and toasty. Add the oats and the salt to the boiling water, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy (but not mushy), about 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the apples, cut the apples into medium chunks. Melt the butter in a frying pan, then add the apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender and caramelized, about 15 minutes.

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Serve the oatmeal topped with the apples. MMMMMmmmmmm.

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