When we gave away those Crock-Pot Versaware slow cookers, we asked readers what they would make in their slow cooker. Reader Louie C said that she would make overnight oatmeal with buttermilk and apricots.
Well, at least two readers immediately wanted the recipe! We adore steel-cut oats too, so when Louie C kindly gave us the recipe we tested and ate it twice. Here it is, for your morning oatmeal enjoyment!
Here is reader Louie C's original recipe, explanation and one major disclaimer. We tweaked the recipe that follows just a bit - see our explanation below.
My cooker has only one temperature, which is quite high, and as a result I've never successfully made this -- I end up with a thick gummy crust on the bottom and top which has to be scraped off and thrown away -- it's a real waste. However, it does work on the stovetop, with a slight adjustment of the amount of liquids, and I can't think of any reason for it not to work in a more sophisticated crockpot. I have suggested the recipe to others who have successfully made it, although not everyone has liked the buttermilk part.
It's adapted from Alton Brown's very good "Good Eats" episode on oatmeal from several years ago, which is what first made me think of making oatmeal overnight.
1 cup steel cut oats, 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 cup dried apricots snipped into quarters, and/or any other dried fruit you like, 3 and a half cups of water, and 1 cup of buttermilk. I hear that it can cook for 7-8 hours on low and even those who did not like the buttermilk said the oatmeal was perfectly cooked and the amount of liquids well balanced.
We tested this twice, and while we did find some burning on the very bottom, we felt that we didn't get that gummy top. Also, we tested this the second time with a greased liner and that seemed to help the burning and sticking.
The best thing about this recipe is how the dried apricots soften and plump up overnight. They become full, juicy, and soft. Their flavor also spreads throughout the oatmeal; there was a strong apricot tang and orange tint to the oatmeal.
Now, about the buttermilk. We are all for buttermilk and its tangy freshness. But here we did feel that it gave a bit too much sourness to the recipe. We (and our breakfast companions) preferred a second version made with half/half and milk. The apricots already give the recipe so much tartness that we felt the buttermilk was a bit much. It might be different made on the stove. But that's our own preference - try it yourself and see.
Overnight Oatmeal with Apricots and Buttermilk
1 cup steel cut oats
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried apricots, snipped into small pieces
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup buttermilk, milk, or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons wheat bran (optional)
Spray a Crock-Pot liner with cooking spray, or rub with butter. Mix the oats, brown sugar, salt and apricots. Pour in the water, milk, and vanilla and stir. Add the wheat bran, if you want. Turn on low and cover. Cook for 7-8 hours. Serve with extra milk and sugar.
Thanks for the recipe, Janice!
(Images: Faith Hopler)