Using Steel Cut Oats (But Not as Oatmeal)
- lamb_da_calculus Oct 28, 2012 12:14 PM
I have a bag of steel cut oats. I've made them into oatmeal before and that's fine, but I'm trying to find different ways to use them. Does anyone have recipes/ideas for alternative savory preparations? Steel-cut-oatcakes? Steel-cut-oat breading, etc.?
Using cut oats in baked goods can be tricky. Often they are too coarse to cook thoroughly, and leave uncooked hard bits. If that's the case, options include precooking the oats, or chopping them finer. I've learned that when British, Scottish and Irish recipes call for oatmeal, they usually mean something more like a coarse flour, with a grain size like cornmeal. Bobs Red Mill sells a 'Scottish oats' which, I think, have the right texture. But they are more expensive.
I have chopped cut oats with a coffee mill (the sort used for spices), though more often I give regular rolled oats a whirl if I want this oat 'meal'.
In some cases might be enough to soak the oats in water or buttermilk, or to pour boiling water over them, and let them sit a while.
I've made Scottish oat cakes (thin flat crackers using just oats), parkin (Yorkshire gingerbread with half oats), perkins (ginger cookies with oats), oat pancakes (following an Irish recipe), and added oats (in various forms) to pumpkin bread (muffins).
I do a riff on chinese congee; Instead of water, I cook with pho stock (I'm not good enough to make from scratch... I use this
) I also add sliced onion, bonito flakes, and seaweed. Sometimes bits of habanero, or top with siracha.
I love this stuff for breakfast.
Good call thinking outside the [cereal] box! Think of them as a substitute for rice, as in pilaf, and then combine them with grated carrots, onion, and celery, perhaps using some bell peppers (red, yellow and orange won't overpower things, as green peppers can), canned mushrooms (and their juice, but watch the salt, though oats stand up well to So), chopped sausage, or potatoes to add some substance. Throw in some broken cappellini, a la Rice-A-Roni, and then cook what you've assembled in a chicken or beef broth. Spice it as you will: parsley, sage, garlic, pepper, and thyme always make a good foundation, and then go from there to take it in the direction you want: paprika for a Hungarian taste; rosemary, red pepper (an excellent time to use A BIT of those leftover pizza seasoning packets they give away with such abandon), and oregano a/o basil for an Italian; and if you really want to get fancy add A TOUCH of saffron and try a fish broth or clam juice for a faux paella, adding the clams themselves at the appropriate time depending on whether they're cooked or not. Watch your oats-to-H2O ratio depending on the fresh veggies you use, as these release a considerable amount of water themselves. Stovetop cooking is fine, but it's as hot as it's cool to cook the melange in a covered mold surrounded by a water bath in the oven.
For savory applications, I prefer oat groats, the whole uncut grain. It still releases some of that oat glue, but the kernels remain more distinct (just not as much as with wheat berries.)
You can also cook the cut oats as for breakfast cereal, refrigerate the left overs. Then slice and fry it. The slices can be eaten as breakfast (with sugar, syrup, butter), or as a savory side dish. This would be the oat equivalent of fried/baked polenta.