My friend introduced me to this breakfast treat in Tennessee some years ago, and I’m glad she did. It gets a nice chewy texture from both oats and cherries, and it tastes delicious.
Steel-cut oats take longer to cook than rolled oats. They are chewier when cooked, and have a more oaty-nutty flavor. For some reason, they also tend to be more expensive than rolled oats… which is odd, because before rolled oats can become rolled outs, they must start out as steel-cut oats (if I understand correctly).
I never boil the oats at all, but let them cook slowly on the warm side of the stove for an hour or more. Avoids rushing about to rescue pots of boiling-over starch. However, if you’re willing to put up with that kind of thing, you can have yourself a bowl of steel-cut oats in 20 minutes or so, instead of an hour.
Stir in dried tart cherries after the cooking is all done, so they retain their tartness and chewiness — if you cook them along with the oats they will all but disappear into the taste of the grains. You might also want to stir in a little milk, cream, or butter — whatever you like on your ‘regular’ oatmeal — when ready to eat.
To cook, for each 1 part of steel-cut oats, add 3 parts hot water, and salt to taste. One-half cup of raw oats makes a generous serving for one. To complement the flavor of the cherries, add 2 or 3 drops of almond extract, some brown sugar, and cinnamon to the oats at the outset of cooking.
If by any chance you have a woodstove and some heat-resistant dishes, you can cook it right in the bowl you’ll be eating out of… Just set it on a medium-warm part of the stovetop and ignore it for an hour.
When ready to eat, stir in some dried tart cherries, and a little milk or cream, and enjoy.
– Recipe by Now You’re Cooking With Wood.