Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Apple Butter-Oatmeal: My new favorite breakfast recipe

Macroom Irish Oatmeal
It's definitely beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and I'm one lucky sucker. Having first been gifted an amazing tin of stone-ground Irish oatmeal from Zingerman's, followed by a big ol' jar of just-made apple butter, dude's riding high.

Both presents came together this morning in a joyous bowl of breakfast goodness. This combo may be old hat to some of you, but for me, after a long run in sub-freezing temps, I was thoroughly convinced I'd created the best oatmeal recipe ever.

For those of you unfamiliar with stone-ground oatmeal (and I sure was), there's a world of difference between this version and rolled or steel cut oats.  Stone-ground oats are course like real grits, yet they have the wonderful chewiness of their steel-cut cousins.

Most folks know about apple butter, but, just in case you don't, it's traditionally made by slowly cooking down apples, apple juice (I prefer cider), sugar, and any combination of spices such as cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. The resulting "preserve" is dark, rich, slightly tangy, and spreadable with an almost endless number of sweet and savory uses in the Southern kitchen.

One spoonful into my Apple Butter-Oatmeal and I knew I'd discovered THE recipe to get me through the winter.

In fact, now that I think about it, I reckon that stone-ground oats, like grits, would be pretty tasty in a savory application (I'm thinking sautéed shrimp, smoked gouda, maybe a little crumbled bacon).  Sounds like the perfect thing to test out on the family this weekend.  Stay tuned for the results.

Apple Butter-Oatmeal
Serves 1
This recipe can easily be doubled.

1/2 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup stone-ground oatmeal
1/4 cup dried chopped fruit
2 to 3 Tablespoons apple butter

Bring milk, water, salt, and sugar to a boil in a saucepot.  Add oatmeal, stirring constantly until smooth.  Allow oatmeal to return to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, 15 to 25 minutes.  Stir in chopped fruit and apple butter.  Add additional milk to desired consistency.

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  1. Scott, I've been enjoying my steel-cut oatmeal with a tablespoon each of peanut butter, plain Greek-style yogurt, and fruit conserve. However, this sounds delicious. Where can I find the stoned-ground oatmeal?
    Thanks and happy New Year!

  2. Oops, not a tablespoon, but a teaspoon of each!

  3. Hey, Sara. My stone-ground oatmeal came from Zingerman's (check out the link in the post for their on-line store). I bet Whole Foods carries them well as most health food stores. They really are worth trying.