Steel Cut Oats

Had enough of rich buttery high-fat foods, loaded up on red-meat and sugary snacks, and now looking to fix everything wrong in your body?

Have no fear, oats to the rescue - it has soluble fiber to help reduce harmful cholesterol. So, fix yourself up with a regular serving of oats. Additionally, filling yourself with oats means less space in your stomach for all that other stuff that you crave but is not good for you.

Rolled oats, as well as instant oats, in my opinion, don't taste very good - soggy, no texture, insipid food. Steel-cut oats are a world apart - they have a hearty taste, nice chewy and nutty texture - good taste, and good for you - and there is no catch!

Steel-Cut Oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into two to three pieces.
A popular brand is McCann's Irish Oatmeal. But for those eating this regularly, look for steel-cut oats in your local bulk-grocery store - bulk-bin purchase, in stores such as Whole Foods, will get you 5 times more oats for the same price.

There are many ways to cook steel-cut oats, here's the way I cook them. Other alternatives for faster cooking involve soaking overnight (in hot water - in cold water it does not help at all), or using the pressure-cooker.

Each quarter- to one-third-cup dry steel-cut oats is one serving, around a cup of cooked oats.

Time: 40 to 60 minutes - but varies with size of the cut - larger grains take longer time. Just be very careful, overcooking makes everything too mushy and very easy to overcook in a covered pot and under-cooking oats taste too raw.

Servings: 6-8

1.1 to 1.5 cups steel-cut oats
4-5 cups water

Bring the water to a boil in a covered pot. Good to use a glass cover to watch when oats start to boil over in the next step.

To the boiling water, add all the oats.
Pot should be watched when boiling - use a large pot, and lower the heat to medium, to prevent it from boiling over.
First 20 minutes let it boil freely on low, adjust heat as needed.

Use lowest possible heat just enough to keep the oats boiling a bit. Boiling oats are prone to very easy spillovers, so watch the pot and heat closely.

Final 20 minutes, lower heat to minimum, stir as needed every 4-8 minutes to make sure it does not stick at the bottom of the pot.
Total time: around 40-50 minutes of cooking the oats.

If using uncovered pot, need a lot more water, around 6-7 cups and around 10 minutes more. I used to do it this way since I liked removing the skin (like clotted cream) that keeps forming on top of the pan! But I don't do that anymore, just keep stirring things up in a covered pot and speed up the cooking using a pot cover.

Note: the bulk steel-cut oats from the local Whole Foods take around 40-50 minutes of boiling/simmering time, they are pretty sizable pieces of the oat grain. But another brand - organic steel cut oats - was cut a bit finer and that took less water, and cooked faster. The finer cuts may also be easier to eat - though they lose the nutty tasting flavor that the larger pieces have.

After cooking, let it cool down, and then serve. Can be refrigerated for 5-7 days, and portions re-heated 2-3 minutes in a microwave, adding a few tablespoons water if needed. This works great for cooking a full week's portion at one time.

Some people serve this with sugar, or a pinch of salt. But try it without anything, it is fine just as is. For special treats, add fruits - strawberry, blueberry, as you prefer.