Monday, December 24, 2012

A Fortifying Breakfast

Before I could face the preparation of holiday cinnamon buns, pecan bars, palmiers, and creme brulee, I ate a bowl of steel-cut oats (look for them at the IGA, with all of the other Bob's Red Mill products) topped with dried figs. Cooking them pilaf-style, covered without stirring, gave them a great texture, toothsome but not crunchy. A nonstick pot is essential. Here is the recipe:

Steel-Cut Oats with Dried Fig Compote
Serves 3 to 4

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup steel-cut oats
3 1/4 cups water
Pinch salt
1/2 cup dried figs, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Milk or half-and-half

1. Melt the butter in a nonstick pot over medium-high heat. Add the oats and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to low, and cook without stirring for 30 minutes.
2. While the oats are cooking combine the figs, brown sugar, ginger, and remaining 1/4 cup water in a small pot. Bring to a simmer and cook at a bare simmer until the liquid is thickened, about 20 minutes.
3. Stir the oatmeal, divide it among 3 or 4 bowls, and top with the figs and their liquid. Serve immediately, with milk or half-and-half if desired.

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