I think I am overdue in terms of singing the praises of one of my very favorite kitchen appliances, which is my beloved, faithful, trustworthy slow cooker. I’ve had the same slow cooker for years and years now – it’s a basic Rival Crockpot model – and I’ve made everything from the best beef barley soup in the world to a really incredible chocolate pudding cake and a lot of stuff in between. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you toss a bunch of stuff in the crockpot in the morning, go out to work, and then come home hours later to a house that smells like heaven and the glorious knowledge that dinner is already made!
Most of my crockpot recipes are dinner-oriented (Well, except for that cake. Which I would happily eat for dinner, but that’s just me.) This oatmeal recipe also makes a fantastic comfort food dinner recipe, but it’s my only crockpot recipe that is perfection for breakfast. Here’s how it works, and why I adore it so much.
First of all, you must use steel-cut oats – none of those regular rolled Quaker Oats for this recipe. Steel cut oats are those hard little round oats – they look like teeny little pebbles and you will wonder how on earth they are going to turn into anything edible, but have faith. You toss them into your trusty slow cooker with some water, a little half and half and some dried fruit. I used dried cranberries and chopped up dried figs, but I think probably anything you have around will work just fine – raisins, dates, etc. Set the slow cooker for 8 hours on low, and go to bed. The next morning you will wake up to an unbelievably amazing aroma of sweet and creamy oatmeal. It has slowly cooked away all night look, and the fruit has somehow broken down and blended into the oats, giving the whole thing a wildly delicious, comforting, sweetly creamy texture. No additional sweetener is needed – just warm up a little milk and grab your favorite bowl.
Take hold of a spoon, close your eyes and dig in. It’s comfort food extraordinaire, and you may never go back to those little oatmeal packets ever again.
from Alton Brown
• 1 cup steel cut oats
• 1 cup dried cranberries
• 1 cup dried figs, cut in quarters
• 4 cups water
• 1/2 cup half and half
1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and set on low. Cover and cook for 8 hours.
2. Stir and scoop into bowls. Pour warm milk over each serving.