February 6, 2015 7:32 am Leave your thoughts
Thinking of making porridge the traditional Scottish way? Perhaps inspired a little by Burns Night a week or so ago? As the poem for that night runs: ‘Old Scotland wants no watery stuff, that splashes in small wooden dishes’. No, the Scots want something warm, steaming and rich – and when they’re not eating haggis, oatmeal porridge fits the bill.
Oatmeal has been described as ‘the backbone of many a sturdy Scotsman’. Like everything else with ‘oat’ in its name, it all starts with simple oats, which, just like other cereals, have a hard and inedible husk. When this is removed, you’re left with oat groats. More about those later.
The groats are generally dealt with in one of two ways: they are chopped and then rolled into flat flakes under heavy rollers, to make ‘rolled oats’ – which we sell at Naturally Good Food as ‘porridge oats’ or the slightly larger, thicker ‘jumbo oats’.
Alternatively, you can cut the oats into small pieces, to produce oatmeal (or as they’re sometimes called, ‘steel-cut’ or ‘pinhead’ oats – both terms referring to the cutting mechanism). Bits of the bran layer are retained, giving the oats a coarser texture and more roughage. The porridge oatmeal makes is more filling than ‘normal’ porridge, with a slightly nuttier taste.
Here’s how to make oatmeal porridge.
Soak a handful of oatmeal overnight (you can skip this stage, but it does greatly reduce the cooking time). In a saucepan, with twice the volume of liquid (milk/water), and a pinch of salt, simmer the oatmeal for about ten minutes. (If you haven’t soaked, you’re looking at something over half an hour’s simmering.) Serve with whatever you like on your porridge – more milk, cream, brown sugar, berries, whisky – or just another pinch of salt.
For those who don’t have ten minutes every morning to keep a watchful eye on a bubbling pan, you can also use a slow cooker (with a timer) to cook the oatmeal overnight. You coat the cooking pan with a thin layer of butter, then simply add five times the quantity of water/milk to oats, with the salt and sugar put in at the same time. Cook on low for seven-eight hours: wake up to breakfast!
You can also ‘batch cook’ oatmeal, making enough for a few days at a time, and reheating in the microwave.
And oat groats? Many people grind these to make their own oatmeal. But they can be used for porridge in their original state – and many people just adore it. It makes a porridge that’s even thicker and richer in original nutrients than oatmeal. If you like getting your teeth into a grain, oat groats are the way to go.
Here’s how to make porridge with groats:
Soak overnight and then make as per the oatmeal instructions (with four times as much liquid as oats), but simmering on the stove for up to an hour. Add your salt or sweetening afterwards.
Can you make this in the slow cooker too? You sure can. In just the same way as with oatmeal, and for the same amount of time, it’s suggested.
Oat groat porridge is great for anyone who loves oats, but doesn’t like puddles of watery slosh. It’s got a thick texture, rather like a risotto. Rib-sticking and delicious, oat groat porridge is the porridge that will keep you fullest for longest – and which, overall, does the best job of stabilising blood sugar levels.
Naturally, we sell both oatmeal and oat groats, in a range of sizes.
Tags: brown sugar, jumbo oats, oat groats, oatmeal, oats, pinhead, porridge, steel-cut
This post was written by Yzanne