Who am I to, just in the height of pumpkin love season, talk about oatmeal on here? Not rolled oats, not steel-cut oats, but the oat groat itself, the most pure form of the grain. Maybe you haven't even heard of them. I didn't, before my mother gave me half a package and sold them off as so "chewy and good!" I'll admit this didn't register as a cue to make them right away. I delayed, I Googled once. They take an hour to cook by themselves. I do not like to wait in the mornings. I found crock pot and slow cooker overnight recipes...don't have 'em. And then, I found a stovetop technique that served my lack of breakfast patience well, and also, it seemed, the oats, in Culinate. I was in business and finally ready to branch out. Oatmeal, in itself, evokes routine, doesn't it? We are quite the granola type and replenishing the granola frequently, one of my most meditative kitchen routines. But with resolve, I opted to push the groats to the forefront of my cabinet and purposely run out of rolled oats so that a granola shortage would ensue, and very late on one of the first cold fall Saturday nights, reached for the grandmother oat, the groat.
I took Culinate's technique one step further and toasted the groats lightly before their initial boil/soak. Then I went to sleep and so did the oats and in the morning, bowls of goodness were that much closer. I've made the groats like this twice now and love the basic recipe. You start by, as I prefer, lightly toasting the groats in the saucepan with a dot of butter...a quick toast, you don't want them to darken much, just let off a hint of fragrance. Then you'll add water and a flick of salt, cover and bring to an almost boil. At that point, turn off the heat, leave covered and go to bed :) This hot soak plumps the oats overnight so they only need a little time in the morning, when you'll stir in cinnamon and grated apple and simmer about 15 minutes, then steam off the heat for 10. A touch brown sugar, milk, raisins and pecans finish it off and a drip of maple syrup is the final touch. A warming, energizing breakfast ladies and gents to reboot your so-called routine. There is nothing quite like eating warm whole-oat oatmeal in your pajamas at the kitchen table as the sun shines and cuts through the cold air. Enjoy!
Toasted Overnight Oat Groats
Adapted from Culinate. Serves 2.
1/2 tsp butter
1/2 cup whole oat groats (I used Shiloh Farms)
1 1/2 c filtered water
Small pinch salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 an apple, grated on a box grater
Handful raisins and toasted nuts (optional)
Pure maple syrup, brown sugar and milk of your choice
The night before, set a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Add the oats, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or so, until a hint of fragrance emits. Add the water, and salt, stir and cover, standing close by. When the pot is just reaching a boil, turn off the heat and leave it there.
In the morning, grate the apple. Remove the cover of the pan and set the heat to medium. Add the apple and the cinnamon to the oats, and cook over medium low for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover again and let steam off the heat for 10 minutes.
Don't skip that. Make coffee.
At this point, I stir in the raisins and a spoonful brown sugar as well as a spoonful half-and-half. To serve, ladle into bowls, too with nuts and maple.