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Nov 19, 2006 01:38 PM

I need "McCann's for Dummies!"

After all the hype here and elsewhere, we went out and got a can of McCann's Irish Oatmeal. I got up early today to make a batch. And I was not impressed. Compared to my 15-minute rolled oats, this was grainy and chewy, like a bowl of slightly underdone rice. What did I do wrong??

Here's what I did do: boiled 4 c water, added 1 c oats, stirred until the boil slowed down a bit, then turned to simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally. Did not cover the pot (as I do, partially, when I make rolled oats). I stopped the cooking around 28 mins when it was starting to get stuck to the bottom. I don't expect those additional 2 mins would have made the difference, so is this just an acquired taste or did my methodology have a fatal flaw?

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  1. You'll need to add salt just as the oats start to thicken. Here's a recipe for steel-cut ("Irish") oats that's a bit more work, but worth it:

    Saute 1c oats in 1T butter until toasty and nutty smelling. Meanwhile, bring 3c water and 1c milk to a boil. Add toasted oats (be careful, as the whole thing will bubble up and want to spill all over your stovetop!). Turn heat down and simmer oats, stirring fairly regularly. When the mixture is about the consistency of gravy, add 1t salt. Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, but not gloppy. The grains should be tender and just a bit toothy. Good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: bdinah

      I cook my oats the same way. However, the first time I cooked steel-cut oats I thought I did something wrong. I thought the texture was disgusting -- too chewy and kind of popped in my mouth. The next time I tried them I got used to it and now I don't eat processed oats anymore.

    2. Steel cut oats will be chewy, but pleasantly so. Sounds like yours were a little undercooked. Add some more liquid (try part milk next time) and go a few minutes longer.

      You don't mention salt. Oats need salt, but wait until the last few minutes of cooking to add it.

      4 Replies
      1. re: soundpost

        I would like to try steel cut oats in the slow cooker overnight - - does anyone have any suggestions/recipes/tried and true advice?


        1. re: LAWoman

          McCann's website offers a recipe for using the slow cooker.

          They also have a recipe for using a pressure cooker, which I use all the time. I just make a big batch for the whole week and reheat it with a little milk.

          1. re: LAWoman

            I use Alton Brown's overnight oatmeal recipe. I have a big slow cooker, so to prevent the oatmeal from getting too dry/burnt because of the large surface area, I use a timer (one of the ones people hook their lights up to when they go away on vacation) to start it in the middle of the night. Love it. Right now, I'm using apples as the dried fruit and adding Penzy's baking spice (per a suggestion on this board).

            1. re: LAWoman

              I tried a super-simple (and low energy) overnight cooking method with my steel cut oats. i boiled them for about 5 minutes, then turned it off entirely, threw a lid on and went to bed. When I woke up, the oats and water were separated, but with a minute or two of stirring and an extra few minutes of simmering they were good to go! Not quite as good as usual, but passable, very simple, and no slow-cooker required.

          2. After about 20 minutes, I like to turn off the heat and cover with the lid. I then let it sit for about 20 minutes. The extra steaming unsticks oatmeal from the bottom of the pot and really gives it a great consistency. Steel-cut oats are, by their nature, more toothsome than rolled oats, a texture that I greatly prefer. And definitely add salt - I add it to the boiled water and then usually sprinkle a bit of sea salt on the finished oats before adding my sweet or savoury toppings. I hope you like it better next time.

            1. All the hints above are spot on. I like the risotto method and 1 part s-c oats to 3 parts water brought to a boil then 1 part buttermilk added for the simmer. The salt is absolutely necessary. And a heavy bottomed pot + the covered rest eliminate any sticking. The grainy chew is part of the delight of s-c oats but you should cook to get a creamy consistency with the satisfying chew.

              BTW, the McCann's tin is lovely but Trader Joes and Whole Foods and I would imagine many other places sell s-c oats at 1/3 to 1/2 the price and you can put them in the tin for storage.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rainey

                And TJ's has had organic steel cut oats on sale for a while now. I get a can every time I go in.

                1. re: rainey

                  I just got three pounds of steelcut oats from our Whole Foods for $3 - took'em home and filled up the two McCann's tins I've saved for that purpose...

                  I make eight cups (cooked) at a time in my double boiler overnight. Put two cups of oats, eight cups of water and a tablespoon of salt in the top, hot water underneath, then set it on the hot tray set to HIGH and go to bed. The next morning I give the oats a stir and set it on the stove, bring the water underneath to a boil, turn it down to a simmer, stirring now and then. It still takes about half an hour, but the oats don't stick or burn. Then we each have a cup for breakfast, and I parcel the rest out into three two-cup microwaveable refrigerator containers, and just zap one (with a little extra water) each of the next three mornings. I like mine with a little milk and some brown sugar, and Mrs. O prefers hers with just a sprinkle of Molly McButter.

                2. i like them toothy and cook them 2:1 (2 parts water to 1 part oatmeal) by toasting the oats in a dry pan first, then adding the water. bring to a boil, turn down heat to the low, and then cover and cook about 12 minutes.

                  i've never added salt, but often add ginger, cardamom, and cloves.

                  i often serve it with a quarter-cup of Fage 2% yogurt, pomegrantite seeds and toasted walnuts.