Steel-cut oats are oat grains that have been cut into 2 to 3 pieces rather than rolled and flattened into flakes. They retain a chewier texture than rolled oats and take between 20 to 40 minutes to cook (depending on you texture preference). Time has been the deal breaker thus far. I just can't wait that long for breakfast. So instead of 40 minutes at the stove, I threw them in the slow cooker to cook for 6 hours. I know.
But the slow cooker requires no standing and stirring, waiting for that watched pot to boil. I had leftover oranges and fresh cranberries from Thanksgiving and decided to try an orange-cranberry oatmeal. It turned out about as bland as it looks, but that's just what I was in the mood for after all that Thanksgiving abundance. Dried cranberries would add sweetness and orange juice concentrate might provide a deeper orange flavor.
Everyone likes their oatmeal a little different, so adjust to your liking. This made a thick, creamy porridge slightly chewier than regular oatmeal. Shorten the cooking time if you like a chewier, heartier texture. Use more milk if you like it extra creamy. Type and amount of sweetener is up to you as well. I prefer my oats thin and watery as opposed to thick and creamy, but that's just me.
I'll probably go with a different flavor next time, but I'll definitely be using my slow cooker for steel-cut oats.
Slow Cooker Orange-Cranberry Oats
1 cup steel-cut oats
3 cups water*
1 cup milk*
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
1 tsp vanilla
sweetener, to taste
* Use 4 cups of liquid total. I used 3 cups water and 1 cup milk. The more milk you use the creamier your oats will be. You could also try using orange juice for part of the liquid for a stronger orange flavor.
* Pour steel-cut oats, water and milk into slow cooker. Finely grate peel of orange and add to oats. Squeeze juice from orange into slow cooker. Stir in cranberries and salt.
* Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours. Stir well to combine. Stir in vanilla. Sweeten to taste.
Food for Thought: "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions." -Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.