I always thought oatmeal came in little packets that you add hot water to, stir, and eat. It wasn’t until the staff at Flour clamored to offer a hot cereal option to our customers that I discovered steel-cut oats, which are made by cutting oat kernels into little pieces with steel blades, rather than rolling them flat into flakes with rollers. What results is a world away from the mushy porridge I dutifully ate when I was growing up. Steel-cut oats are chewy, nutty, and far more flavorful and interesting to eat. This recipe will change your outlook on oatmeal. The easy-to make, barely sweetened pecans are a great crunchy topping for more than just oatmeal. Try them on ice cream, pancakes, or waffles, or just eat them out of hand.
- Yield: 4
- 3 medium Bosc pears, peeled, halved, cored, and roughly chopped
- ¼ cup (55 g) packed brown sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (75 g) pecans, lightly toasted and chopped
- 2 cups (480 ml) whole milk
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup (180 g) steel-cut oats
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
To make the compote
- In a small saucepan, combine the pears, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar melts and starts to simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the pears have softened. Remove from the heat. The compote can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- In a small saucepan, mix together the sugar and 2 tbsp water and bring to a boil over high heat. Watch the pan carefully as the sugar syrup starts to color. As soon as the syrup begins to turn brown, add the pecans, reduce the heat to low, and quickly stir the pecans into the syrup. The nuts will clump and it won’t look like there is enough syrup to cover them. Stir over low heat for about 1 minute, or until the syrup is well mixed with the nuts (you may start to see some sugarsyrup threads clinging to the nuts). Remove from the heat, scrape the nuts onto a heatproof plate or a clean work surface, and let cool. When cool, break into small bite-size pieces.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, 2 cups/480 ml water, the salt, and oats and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. (To speed up the cooking, combine the milk, water, salt, and oats in an airtight container and let soak overnight in the fridge. In the morning, transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and proceed as directed. Cooking time will be reduced by about half.) Add the nutmeg and cinnamon to the oatmeal and stir to combine.
- When ready to serve, divide the oatmeal equally among four bowls and top with the pear compote and the nuts.