To continue the breakfast theme around here... I've had a request for the slow cooker steel cut oats that are a feature in our breakfast rotation. As it's getting colder around here, it's perfect timing. The recipe comes from one of my favourite cookbooks of late Slow Cooker Revolution, from my heroes at ATK/Cook's Illustrated.
As a very oaty household, we typically have a few types of oats about - jumbo rolled oat (our standard porridge oat), quick rolled oats (for mixing in raw to yoghurt) and pinhead, also called steel cut (for a different type of porridge).
I need to preface this with the fact that in my mind, oatmeal porridge ought to be a mostly savoury dish. I don't normally like anything sweet in mine, bar dried fruit. Although I do like cold evaporated milk. So this recipe is a bit off the norm for me.
Steel cut oats are delicious and have a great texture, but are a bit of a pain to prepare, compared to rolled oats. This slow-cooker method makes it a snap and the leftovers are easily reheated. Since we have a very basic slow cooker (sans timer) I just plug ours into one of those timer socket thingies to get the right cooking time for it to be ready at breakfast. If you leave it cook too long, it's all ballooned out.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I've used salted and just back on the salt)
2 cups steel-cut oats
8 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat, add the oats in and toast. You need to make sure to stir this well as they can get dark quickly. You want them to be a golden colour and smell quite nice. Transfer over to the slow cooker and add the water and salt, cook on LOW setting for 4-6 hours. Our slow cooker tends to run hot, so they're done in 4, easily. Stir the porridge well and let it sit for about 10 min before serving, it just evens out a bit and is less hot.
The book provides a few options to this recipe - Cinnamon & Raisins, Bananas & Walnuts and Apples & Raisins. We've tried the first option, in which you simply add 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 cup of raisins. I love it! I'm hoping to try the banana one soon... For it you reduce the water to 7.5 cups and add 4 mashed bananas, 1 cup of toasted walnuts, 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon.
The real efficiency from this recipe is the leftover factor. It makes quite a lot and reheats as new. Just need to add a bit of water to get the right texture, although I prefer it solid.