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Dec 25, 2012 05:06 PM

Skirlie (Scottish oat stuffing) - troubleshooting

I made this as a side dish for roast venison, and while it was extremely delicious -- we all loved it, and thought it went well with roast meat -- it didn't turn out properly. I melted some butter in a cast iron pan, sauted a finely chopped onion in the butter till soft, then added the oats which were supposed to suck up the butter & become plump and stick together slightly (conjecture, here, since I've never eaten it before & am going on what I have read online & the photo in the cookbook). Instead the oats stayed mostly dry, and gradually browned as they became toasted in the pan. Delicious, but a pile of oats on your plate is kind of hard to eat.

Was my mistake using cast iron? I wondered if maybe it had absorbed a lot of the fat before the oats ever had a chance to do so. Or should I have used a different type of oats (not rolled oats, but groats or quick oats?)

Thanks in advance for your help.

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  1. I never heard of this before, but it reminds me of something my mom called 'toasted oatmeal'. She melted a generous amount of butter, added sugar (proportions were like a roux), and then raw rolled oats. She then slowly cooked these till the oats were browned (but not burned) and somewhat crisp. It was, in effect, a simple stove top granola.

    One problem with using English and Scottish oat recipes is that oat terminology differs. Rolled oats are the most familiar form in the USA, with coarse Irish style steel cut next. But BobsRedMill sells 'Scottish oats' which are more like a coarse meal or ground oats. I approximate those by chopping rolled oats in a food processor or coffee mill. So 'oatmeal' in a Scottish recipe might not be 'rolled oats'. It's not always easy to tell.

    However, this blog recipe does call for rolled oats
    She toasts the oats, but then add some water to soften them.
    uses the meal or pinhead (fine cut), not 'flakes'
    just says 'Medium oatmeal'. The proportion of fat and onion is higher than I'd expect, but probably makes up for the lack of water. But as with my toasted oatmeal, I think you need to be patient with the frying.
    with video; this meal is finer than rolled oats.

    1. Paul is right about the possible differences in naming. Here in the UK, we'd use a medium oatmeal (mealie in texture), rather than rolled oats that I'd use in, say muesli.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Harters

        Thanks paulj and Harters; I appreciate your comments & those links are really helpful. Also, that stovetop granola sounds really delicious!

        I'm restricted in what I can buy because I have to use the "clean" oats that are certified gluten-free and they are hard to come by and not available in a variety of shapes & sizes. It sounds like if I give these oats a quick buzz in the food processor to make them smaller, that might do the trick.

        1. re: geekmom

          Yep, certainly worth a try giving them a whizz in the processor

      2. I just tried this for breakfast, using 1 c of rolled oats (chopped in coffee mill), 1 onion, diced (streaky) bacon, and a pat of butter. I liked the result. It's sort of a cross between granola and migas (Spanish toasted bread crumbs) - chewy oats, chewy bacon bits, soft onion pieces, and pretty rich on the fat.

        I ate with some additional bacon, and fried egg.

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          Yum! This sounds like a pretty fine breakfast.