Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Food Post - Slow-cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal - 6 to 8 servings

This recipe made a whole lot of oatmeal.  I am trying to put some healthy meals on the table, which includes breakfast.  Back in the day when I was a child and it was a cold, damp and miserable day, Mum always put a nourishing bowl of porridge on the table.  It was one of our favorite winter breakfasts, literally did warm you up from the inside out.  

There were days walking to school when we could not see a hand in front of our face. Those were the days of 'smog' and we would walk one behind the other, just like you see how elephants do it now, hanging on to each other's tail in single file, except that we would be hanging on to a piece of clothing.  
(I found this interesting article on smog.)  

I grew up in an industrialized area of England and could hear the whistle of the factory just down the road, to announce the beginning and the end of the working day. I have no memory of what it made or even what it was called, but it wasn't too far from Brunswick Park near the railway track.  We were living in a house owned by the constabulary.  Dad, and you may know if you've been following my blog for a while, retired as a Detective Inspector with the Staffordshire Police Force.   Those police houses are now privately owned and I think the factory was torn down years ago.  I don't believe it is as industrialized now.  Maybe our English blogging friend Valerie from Mixed Bag can educate us, as she lives not too far away from where I grew up.  

"Back to me porridge".  I got the recipe here.  I made this a little while ago and put it on the night before I knew it was going to snow (January 26th, 2015).  

Slow-cooker Steel-Cut Oatmeal - makes 6 to 8 servings

Unsalted butter

8-1/2 cups water
2 cups steel-cut oats
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk or 1-3/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Total time: 10 minutes, plus 7 to 8 hours cooking time.

Coat the inside of your slow cooker with a thin layer of butter.

Add the water, oats, coconut or whole milk, brown sugar and salt. 

Stir to combine.

Cover and cook on low until the oats are cooked through and creamy, about 7 to 8 hours.

Stir in the vanilla and serve immediately.

What did we think of this recipe?   One of us gave it a thumb's up and the other didn't.  Gregg wasn't a fan.  It's not everyone's cup of tea I know.  In all fairness he has never liked oatmeal/porridge but it doesn't stop me from trying, when it's been long enough between fixing it, especially if I'm in my 'but it's so good for you' kick."  I know he's teasing me but he actually said he feels like Oliver being given gruel and made me laugh as he lifted his bowl up and said, "Please sir, can I have more?" then quickly took it back knowing I would actually give him more.  "Nuh-uh, no thanks", he said.

Don't worry folks, in another couple of years I'll try again.

If you are curious what gruel actually is, like I was, I found this here.

"Here's a simple recipe for flour gruel:

2 teaspoons of flour

1 teaspoon of salt

Boil one cup water.  Separately, drip water on flour and salt until it makes a paste.  Add the paste to the boiling water.  Stir to a semi-fluid consistency.  Strain to eliminate film.  Serve warm.  

Did orphans really eat it?  You bet they did.

....they contracted with the water-works to lay on an unlimited supply of water, and with a corn factory to supply periodically small amounts of oatmeal, and issued three meals of thin gruel a day, with an onion twice a week, and half a roll on Sundays.

Charles Dickins,

Oliver Twist"

I enjoyed my bowl of porridge but next time would cut the recipe in half as I will be eating this for breakfast several mornings.  Which is fine but even I like a change and I have always been a little too frugal to throw good food away.  Actually, the second time I tasted it, was even better than the first.  I measure out a cup of oatmeal, reheat and then added half a cup of blueberries and a drizzle of home-grown honey that my father-in-law's cousin's gave us a few weeks ago.  It was so yummy.  

I often say this I know but I love my crockpot/slow-cooker.  Steel-cut oats takes a while to cook.  I am not firing on all pistons first thing in the morning, so having it all ready to go when you get up is great, for those of us who like porridge that is.  Also definitely a nostalgia food for me.

You can make short-cuts in calories I'm thinking.  Lower-percent milk or non-fat coconut milk, and spraying the inside of the crockpot with cooking spray rather than butter.  


  1. You share the most amazing recipes, Denise, thanks so much for this. :)

  2. We are having the SAME breakfast!

    ALOHA from Honolulu

  3. I love oatmeal but in a different way..will definitely try this seems interesting..

  4. I love porridge but do't think I would like this recipe as it has sugar in it. I an add a bit of salt to the porridge woman!

  5. used to love Golden Syrup on our porridge as a child. I use the Quaker instant oats Maple and Brown Sugar flavour. Just going to pour the boiling water over them now in fact!!!

  6. Good Morning Denise, I love oatmeal, especially with the brown sugar.. But, I am the only one eating it, so I could never make a big portion... Have a happy Monday!

  7. I'm with Greg on the porridge front... I loathed it as a child. The recipe looks interesting though, if you like that sort of cereal.

    Oooooh I got a mention. Thank you. I don't get to the Staffordshire area much these days but I think I did hear that a lot of the very old police houses were sold off. Where I am in Warwickshire the houses were in good nick so they stayed. Mind you, anything could have happened by now... it is so long since I left the police force and I am so out of touch with developments.

  8. This was such an interesting post, Denise. The steel cut oats are my favorite, but I can't eat them for breakfast. Maybe for lunch. I think Gregg might like your oatmeal recipe after all if you had him try gruel once. Lol

  9. i would eat the gruel if it was all i had.. oatmeal is not my favorite thing, but hubby loves it. he would like this

  10. Denise, hubby and I like the steel cut oats in the crock pot - easy to fix. But I use one of the crock pot liners so it doesn't stick to the sides.

  11. My husband and I love oatmeal so much that we eat it every morning. Beautiful image of your steel-cut oats with blueberries!

  12. Mmmm - so delicious and warming!

  13. Every once in awhile I'll have it on campus on a cold winter day- topped with either maple syrup or brown sugar.

  14. Using coconut milk and adding brown sugar and vanilla sound SO good! It would taste so much better, and still be healthy! Too bad your husband did not like it, then you could have eaten the same thing. So your dad was one of England's finest! You must be so proud of him!

  15. As I am reading your post, I am eating a bowl of porridge. I love it! I always wondered if one could make it in the slow cooker and you just confirmed it.

  16. Sometimes we have oatmeal for supper. I love the Scottish kind best. Your recipe sounds delicious.

  17. I do enjoy oatmeal during the winter months. YUM!

  18. I enjoy oatmeal and any and all things with oatmeal, and often have it before I go to sleep too!

  19. I like porridge but I'll pass on this one. It's much to involved. I rotate rolled oats, cream of wheat and sunny boy.

  20. Roger would probably like this..not me. I do not care for oatmeal cooked....but I will eat it dry. LOL

    I did not know your dad was a Chief Inspector! (Or if I did, I have forgot it, but I cannot imagine forgetting it as I watch New Tricks, Inspector Lewis, Morse, Lynley etc.)

  21. I have been wanting to try steel cut oats! The recipe looks really good with the addition of vanilla and coconut milk. Thank you so much.

    I did not know your dad was an inspector! My dad retired from the police force in 1987.

  22. I do like oatmeal for breakfast and always make the longer cooking one vs. instant, but have never tried steel-cut oats. Knowing I can use the slow cooker for this breakfast meal might have me trying it one day soon, Thanks Denise.

  23. We tried steel cut oatmeal once and didn't much care for it. We may not have prepared it correctly.

    We do eat oatmeal every other day. Art puts in a lot of dried fruits and sliced bananas with cinnamon.

    I've always wondered about porridge and if it was the same as oatmeal.

  24. I have made these in the CrockPot, and it does a make a lot. I'm like you though, it's nice to have them done and reheat.