Using Steel Cut Oats (But Not as Oatmeal)
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.
Have you tried the South Indian Upma???It is usually made with semolina or cream of wheat.
But I also make it out of quinoa and a coarser version of cream of wheat ( the name escapes me- but you will find it in Indian stores under the name dalia it is what its called not a brand name).
Havent tried steel cut oats but they could be used also, but I would use a pressure cooker to make it ,as it might take a while to cook it otherwise.
There's a recipe in a Scottish cookbook I have for fried trout, the breading for which uses ground steelcut oats as one might use cornmeal when frying catfish. I ran about a cup of the oats very briefly through the blender, dipped the fish in a seasoned egg/milk mixture and rolled them in the oats, then let them dry a bit while the rest of the meal was being prepared. This was for a Burns Night dinner with friends, and it was quite a hit.
I see no reason why they can't be used in recipes for meatballs or meatloaf as cornmeal or rolled oats are used. Again, I'd chop them finer in the blender.
Soaking them in broth and using in a stuffing might be nice, too; I usually make my breakfast oats by putting them into the top part of the double boiler with water and salt, and leaving them covered on the hot tray over night. In the morning I just get water boiling in the lower half, set the top in place, and twenty minutes later there's oatmeal. Broth would work the same. Then make something like a cornbread stuffing for lamb or pork; just watch that moisture.
Thanks for the ideas everyone, it's a lot to consider. A follow-up question for those who refer to blending the oats - do you mean putting them in a food processor? I would imagine blending doesn't really work since a blender's supposed to rely on liquid to create the vortex that allows stuff to blend.