It’s the end of March. Flowers are bloomin, birds are singing, we’re wearing short sleeves and light jackets, it’s our long-awaited Spring right? Well turns out Spring has not quite sprung. Winter is still holding on. We woke up this morning to find snow on the ground. Are you kiddin me?!! All of the tender new blooms are covered with snow.
Thankfully it wasn’t much more than a dusting. The one good thing I can say about the snowy morning is that it put us in the mood for slow-cooked, steel-cut oatmeal. I like oatmeal year round, but find it absolutely perfect on a cold, snowy morning. While I will do instant oatmeal in a pinch, I prefer the good old-fashioned kind, John McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal to be specific. This oatmeal has a wonderful nutty flavour and is a bit chewier than the rolled oat variety.
How are “steel-cut” oatmeal different from “old-fashioned rolled oats”? Both are from the same whole raw oat, they are just cut differently. The steel-cut oatmeal is the whole raw oat cut into chunks. It takes longer to cook than the rolled oats, which are the whole raw oat which is steamed and then rolled flat. This process results in a quicker cooking time for the rolled oat oatmeal.
The nutritional value is essentially the same for both types. And speaking of nutritional value, oatmeal is packed full of health benefits. It is low in saturated fat, sodium free and cholesterol free. It is high in soluble fiber which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol as well as slow digestion which aids in weight control. It also helps to stabilize blood glucose level which lowers the risk of type II diabetes. What are you waiting for? You should definitely get started, because it does take some time, about 30 minutes or so, to cook steel-cut oatmeal. You can reduce cooking time a bit by letting the oats soak in water for an hour before or up to the night before you are planning to prepare them. I usually plan to make it on the weekends when I have more time. I make a big pot so that I will have extra little cup size servings of oatmeal that I can simply reheat it in the microwave during the week.
To make steel-cut oats, you sprinkle 1 cup of the oats over four cups of briskly boiling water. Stir well. Once the oatmeal is smooth and beginning to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. At this point I add a pinch of salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Once its done, you can top it with whatever you like. We generally go for bananas, apples, and fresh strawberries, a little butter, and chopped pecans or walnuts. We would have put some of our scrumptious Pear & Rosemary Conserve on it, from my previous post, but we had eaten it all! I know lots of folks like to add a splash of cream, chocolate chips or maple syrup. Really that’s what so fun about it, you can customize it however you want. It’s both yummy and good for you. Get some today!