To Porridge or Not to Porridge

Slow cooker oats
I know that it April 1st and many people are looking forward to spring time weather.  However we can still have chilly mornings so I thought I would share my favorite recipe for Slow Cooker Oats.  I like to make this recipe with Steel-cut Oats.

The main difference between rolled oats and steel-cut oats is the cut and the process which they go through from farm to table. Rolled oats are steamed, pressed flat, steamed again, then roasted. Steel-cut oats are whole, raw oats cut into halves or quarters, giving them an appearance similar to grains of rice. They do not go through a pre-cooking process. Both styles of oats contain the bran and germ, which is where the majority of nutrition is located.

Steel Cut Oats

Rolled oats and steel-cut oats have very different tastes and textures, especially after they have been cooked. Rolled oats are traditionally used in old-fashioned oatmeal, and have a mild oat flavor with a creamy and slightly chewy texture. Rolled oats are light and fluffy in comparison to steel-cut oats. Steel-cut oats have a much heartier weight and a grainy texture. When cooked, they have a texture that is similar to steamed rice. The flavor has a nutty quality as well.

Fruit and Nuts Slow Cooker Oats

2 cups of steel cut oats
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
7 cups of water
2 cups of milk
¼ cup of brown sugar
1 cup pitted and chopped dates.
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped walnuts or sliced almonds
Combine the oats with salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in the slow cooker insert.  Stir in water and one cup of milk. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low.

Stir in remaining milk, sugar, dates and cranberries.  Serve in Bowls with a sprinkle of walnuts or almonds on the top.  I often make this recipe and freeze servings on a cookie sheet which I then bag and store in the freezer for those mornings when I want something warm and nourishing.

This recipe is an excellent source of both fibre and iron and was adapted from a recipe in Chatelaine.

Margaret Ann RD