02 January 2010

Steel Cut Oats with Candied Bacon

Scott and I have decided to eat healthier for the New Year, that means no more lazy weekend breakfasts cooking up greasy eggs and fried potatoes with buttery toast. We probably should ingest more multi-grains and egg whites and I don't know, maybe work a veggie or fruit in there. Yeah, sounds exciting right? Who wants Blah for breakfast, though?

Enter: steel cut oats. Breakfast oats of all kinds, in general, are super-good for the body: they contain cardiovascular antioxidants, they lower cholesterol levels, and inhance your immune system. Also help to stabilize blood sugar, for those diabetics out there.

I prefer steel cut oats over rolled oatmeal, though - they are chewy, which probably sounds kinda gross but actually is really awesome. The oats "pop" in your mouth and once you try the stuff, you will not be too terribly impressed with Quaker oatmeal any longer (which, by the way, is steel cut oats that have been cooked, rolled flat, cooked again, then rolled even flatter. Buh-bye, texture).

Now, to ease us into this new healthy-mornings lifestyle, I must admit I added some candied bacon. Er, not the healthiest. But! You can stir in all sorts of good-for-you stuff into your oats instead, like fruits or Truvia or heck, leave it plain. It's yummy plain too. And even Peter likes steel cut oats, which makes breakfast-time about as easy as can be.

Steel Cut Oats with Candied Bacon
(from Matthew Amster-Burton's Hungry Monkey)

1 Tbsp. butter
1 c. milk (I use 2%)
3 c. water
1 c. steel cut oats (check the bulk section of your market to get it on the cheap)
1/4 tsp. salt
8 slices thick-cut bacon
1/2 c. brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Combine the butter, milk, and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the oats, reduce heat to low, and simmer UNCOVERED for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the candied bacon. Take a baking sheet and completely wrap it in aluminum foil. Put the bacon on the foil and sprinkle with half of the brown sugar (1/4 c.). Slide the bacon into the preheated oven and bake for about 8 minutes. Then flip the bacon strips, sprinkle with remaining brown sugar, and bake for about 8 more minutes - you want it to be firm and nicely lacquered. Cool until set, then cut into pieces.

Once the oats have simmered for 20 minutes, add the salt and give it a stir. Allow oats to continue simmering for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes, to set up a little more.

Serve oats in a bowl sprinkled with brown sugar and topped with a generous portion of candied bacon.

And PS - thanks to Julie for suggesting the book that provided this little gem of a recipe. :)

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