I received a challenge this week. A friend of mine talked about how much she loved steel-cut oats. I’ve heard that rave before, and even tried the overnight slow cooker steel cut oats myself once. It was mush, and I didn’t much like it. But I agreed to try again. So I pulled out the package from my pantry, and, on impulse, decided to also try millet, which is another ancient grain that is making a comeback. (Or maybe it seems like a comeback since I found out about it recently, after hunting for gluten-free alternatives.)
I cooked the millet according to the directions in the cookbook, “Naturally Homemade” by Judy Zemliak. She suggests a ratio of 1 cup millet to 2 cups water. Bring the water to a boil; add millet; cook for 15-20 minutes. Perhaps cooking it a bit longer would have been good, but it was the taste that I wasn’t particularly fond of. It reminded me of the feed we mixed for our calves when I was little, and perhaps we did feed them millet. It is a common grain for bird seed. Not wanting to throw it out, I threw it into the soup in the crockpot instead. Apparently if you cook it longer, it takes on the consistency of mashed potatoes, so hopefully they’ll enhance the soup, and not wreck it!!
Steel-cut oats. Since we’re a gluten-free household, my options are fewer than most. What I thought was steel cut oats, was steel cut oat pearls. The difference? Apparently steel cut oats need to be cooked for 35 minutes, or soaked first. No wonder mine got mushy in the slow cooker. These take 10 minutes to cook.
I liked the consistency. The directions on the bag asked for a 1 to 4 ratio. Bring 4 cups of water and 1 cup of oats to a boil; lower heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Drain; rinse with hot water, and enjoy. I was surprised (especially after cooking them all night last time) that they were ready so quickly. And surprised that the ratio was set high enough that they needed draining and rinsing. I will have to do some research on why they would suggest preparing it that way. But they were good. I tried a bit with a blueberry honey I had on hand. Then I added maple flakes to the rest of it, along with hemp hearts and cranberries. That was very good. I don’t like my cereal too sweet, so the maple flakes added just the right amount of sweetness.
Yes, my friend, Shanon, I do like steel-cut oats. At least cooked this way. Maybe if I find the authentic steel cut oats (not pearls) that are gluten free, I will attempt the slow cooker again as well.