This recipe owes its beginnings to Alton Brown’s Steel Cut Oatmeal recipe, as it evolved after making Alton’s version until I could do it in my sleep. It was created for the breakfast menu at the lovely 11th Avenue Inn in Seattle during my time there.
To experience this oatmeal in its full glory (and to see more detailed, illustrated instructions and extra tips and tricks), check out The Tiger’s Oatmeal, which is served with cardamom yogurt, toasted coconut flakes and tropical fruit.
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 oz crystallized ginger, finely chopped
3 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons rum (very optional)
- Put the oats, spices and crystallized ginger in a container with a tight lid. Seal and shake until evenly combined.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, add the oats and stir to coat evenly with the butter. Continue to stir until the oats are nice and toasted and you can smell the spices, about two minutes.
- Pour in the boiling water. Stir the oats well, then lower the heat and leave to gently simmer for 25 minutes, undisturbed.
- Add the buttermilk and stir to combine. Let the oats simmer for another 10 minutes. At this point, you can stir them occasionally if you want, but they’ll be fine unattended.
- Stir once more. (This is the time to add the rum and the salt.) Serve and enjoy.
- You can easily customize this recipe to fit anything you have in your cupboard. Try adding different spices or dried fruits (I personally recommend keeping the ginger in any variation). I’ve even made a vegan version on the fly by nixing the butter (you could use canola oil instead) and replacing the buttermilk with orange juice and maple syrup.
- This recipe makes a great breakfast to serve to a large crowd, because you can double or triple it without increasing the cooking time. I’ve found that like rice, the ratio of water-to-oats decreases as you increase the amount of oats, so use 5 cups of water for a double batch and 7 for a triple.
- I always make a double batch, even if I’m only cooking for myself, because this oatmeal freezes very well. Simply freeze any leftovers in a large silicone muffin pan. To reheat, place an oatmeal “muffin” in a bowl and microwave for 3-4 minutes. Once you give it a good stir, you have a healthy, hearty weekend breakfast on a weekday morning, especially if you take those minutes and use them to chop up some fruit to go on top!
- If you want to hold a large batch of oatmeal over an extended period of time (up to three hours in my experience at the Inn), you can cook the oatmeal up through Step 5. Then, rather than adding the buttermilk and continuing their simmer, stir once, cover the pan, and turn off the heat. Then, as people filter in for breakfast, combine as much oatmeal as you need with a portion of the buttermilk in a smaller pan and stir over medium heat until the oatmeal bubbles. The other advantage to this method is that you can accommodate individual salt restrictions this way, leaving it out for those who can’t have it.