It seems as though interest has increased lately toward steel-cut oats and away from instant or microwave oatmeal. Our family prefers steel-cut oats (also referred to as Irish oats) for breakfast. I suppose many people are hesitant to prepare them, however, due to their lengthy cooking time, but that’s easily overcome by using a slow cooker.
Steel-cut oats are sliced by steel blades as opposed to old-fashioned or rolled oats which are steamed and rolled flat. The steel-cut variety offers a firm, chewy texture and exceptionally full oat flavor.
Cereal grain crops with a small plant structure are usually categorized as small-grain cereals. Wheat, barley, oats and rye are grouped as small grains. In Arkansas, wheat and oats are the only small-grain species of economic importance (rice, because of its economic importance in the state, isn’t considered in this same category even though it’s a true small grain).
According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, wheat and oats are unique in that they’re winter crops in the South. Typically, these crops are planted in the fall, usually October or November, and then are harvested in June.
Topped with fresh Arkansas blueberries, which come into season in May and are available at several UPick locations, steel-cut oats make a hearty, low-fat, low-cholesterol way to start the day. Anthocyanins that are responsible for the blueberry’s color, contribute to the numerous health benefits of eating the fruit. Both steel-cut oats and blueberries are full of dietary fiber.
SLOW COOKER STEEL CUT OATS WITH BLUEBERRIES AND ALMONDS
Cooking Time 4-6 hours on LOW
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups steel-cut oats (We prefer Bob’s Red Mill.)
- 7½ – 8 cups water
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup dried blueberries, optional
- 1-1½ cups fresh blueberries
- ½ cup sliced and lightly toasted almonds
- pure maple syrup, optional
- In a large 12-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat; add oats and toast, stirring frequently until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
- Spray the slow cooker insert with nonstick spray. Transfer toasted oats to slow cooker.
- Stir in water, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond extract, salt and dried blueberries.
- Cover and cook until oats are thick and soft, usually 4-6 hours on LOW.
- Let the oats stand 10 minutes; stir and serve topped with fresh blueberries and toasted almonds. Drizzle with pure maple syrup, if desired.
- The prepared oatmeal may be refrigerated in covered containers up to 4 days. It may also be frozen for later use. I usually go ahead and put ours in small serving bowls, cover tightly and reheat in the microwave just before topping and serving.
Note: Because most slow cookers have the heating element on the side opposite the control knob, it is best to turn the insert halfway during the cooking time.
This recipe makes a creamy bowl of oats. If you prefer more of a coarse texture, I suggest preparing Overnight Steel-Cut Oats from my blog.
By Arkansas Women Bloggers memer Debbie Arnold of DiningwithDebbie.