They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately, the fact that I am decidedly not a morning person usually robs me of the opportunity for a leisurely morning meal. Lunch is the new breakfast, I say.
But my wonderful neighbor, Jackie, forwarded me this recipe, and I was intrigued. I told her so, and in typically Jackie form, she responded that she was going to make some and that I could taste hers. I did, and was hooked. Hearty, with just a barely-perceptible hint of sweetness, mostly from the dried fruit - but not so much that it whacks out my blood sugar (something I have to watch - too many carbs in the morning makes for a grumpy Michelle). I like steel cut oats because you can still discern the individual grains - this dish showcases that trait well. Also, it keeps well in the refrigerator, so even in a pre-caffeinated state, I'm able to carve out a hunk and warm it up (or not) for a super quick breakfast on the go.
The original recipe is here, but I've modified it a smidge and added quite a few of my own notes, so I'm reposting it below.
• 1 lb steel cut oats
• 1 cup walnuts, or other nuts
• 2 tablespoons yogurt, kefir, whey or buttermilk, for soaking (I used FAGE yogurt)
• dash unrefined sea salt
• 6 large eggs
• 2 cups milk (original recipe called for whole; I used 2%)
• 1/8 cup agave nectar (optional)(the original recipe called for "up to 1/4 cup maple syrup." I am aware of the recent controversy over agave nectar, but had purchased some before this news broke and needed to use it up, so opted to use that rather than the maple syrup)
• 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries (I strongly prefer the latter, but use whatever you like)
• 1/2 cup dried unsulfured apricots, diced
• 2 tablespoons cinnamon
• 1/4 cup coconut oil, plus extra for greasing baking dish (any other relatively flavorless oil will work, here - Jackie used canola oil, and hers tasted great, too.)
Pour the steel cut oats and nuts into a ceramic container or large mixing bowl.
Add enough filtered water to completely submerge your oats and nuts (you will be straining the oats later, so I'd suggest that you use more water rather than less so you are sure you have plenty for the oatmeal to soak up.)
Oats and nuts before soaking. I forgot to take a photo of them in their bath.
Add the salt and the fresh yogurt, whey, kefir or buttermilk. Allow the oats and nuts to soak, covered, overnight in a warm place in your kitchen – about eight to twelve hours. [Yes, this seems weird - particularly the part about leaving the dairy out overnight. But I did it and I'm still alive.]
After the mixture of oats and nuts has soaked overnight, dump them into a colander to drain and place the mixture back into the ceramic container or mixing bowl.
Preheat the oven to 375° F and grease a 13 x 9-inch rectangular baking pan with coconut oil.
Beat together the eggs, milk and maple syrup/agave nectar (if you’re using it), until well-combined and frothy.
Pour the mixture of eggs, milk and maple syrup/agave nectar over the soaked oats and nuts, stirring well. [The original recipe described this as a porridge-like mixture, but mine was distinctly un-porridge-like. The oats/nuts were still distinctly separate from the egg mixture.]
Gently fold in the dried fruit, cinnamon and coconut oil.
Apricots on the chopping block.
Pour the mixture into a greased baking pan and smooth it out with a rubber spatula to ensure even baking and a good appearance. Again, mine was pretty liquidy and didn't need much "smoothing."
No smoothing needed.
Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes or until the oatmeal achieves a golden-brown color on top and a knife inserted into its center comes out clean and liquid-free.
Cut into squares and serve. I like mine with a dollop of FAGE yogurt on top.