Friday 10 January 2014

Slow Cooker Porridge with Apples

So winter has arrived, I think we all can agree. Time for soups, stews, and the favourite of all three bears: porridge. Or "oatmeal" if you are in America somewhere.

I love a good bowl of porridge, but the measuring and cooking are just too much for me to tackle on a school morning, particularly since no one else in my household seems to like eating oatmeal at the moment. When I microwave it, I inevitably flood the dish no matter how high-sided a bowl I choose, and when I cook it on the stove I get a superior product, but the porridge always cooks faster than my favourite topping: apples. I lack the patience to stew them in advance, so they always end up with too much bite left in them. So usually I just settle for muesli mixed with yogurt, as it is quick and has oats too.

But everything has changed now, because at Christmas we were given a new toy: a slow cooker. Yes, everyone I know has raved about them for years, but fearing the clutter one would add to my kitchen, I never felt strongly enough to go and purchase one myself. So I was joyful indeed when the wrapping paper was pulled back to reveal one of these babies on Christmas day. Now I could finally start pinning slow-cooker recipes I would never actually try!

A recipe I had spotted a while back was for steel cut (or "pinhead") oats and apples cooked overnight to make a luxurious porridge. I didn't have any steel cut oats, nor could I find any in my local shops after a quick look around, but I did have rolled oats in my cupboard. I decided these would do, and got together a few things last night:

I still had these cooking apples left from a friend's tree, so I decided to use them for the most flavour. Into the bottom of the slow cooker they went. I was kind of excited about using huge chunks of apple and knowing they would be cooked until they were gorgeously soft.

Then I sprinkled some cinnamon on top.

Then went some brown sugar. I used around 1/4 cup, but could easily have done with less, as there was a lot of sweetness in the apples.

Then on went the rolled oats and a wee bit of salt.

Then a cup of water and a cup of milk.

I switched on the slow cooker to "low" and hoped for the best as I went off to read some Diana Wynne Jones before turning in for the night. So it was just before 10pm when I switched the crock pot on, and around 7am when I returned to its side.

When I first opened the lid in the morning, I panicked. It looked brown and burnt, and was bubbling in a ferocious manner at the edge. In my disappointed state, I took a disappointing photo.

But then I scooped some of it out. Wow. It was amazing. Kind of like a breakfast apple crumble. The top was oaty and chewy, but the apples at the bottom were moist and tender, with normal porridge sandwiched in the middle. Breakfast bliss, I tell you.

So if you do have a slow cooker gathering dust in a corner, I highly recommend you start your mornings this way. I certainly will be doing so again in the future.

Slow Cooker Apple Porridge

2 apples, chopped & peeled (though you don't have to peel them if you aren't up to it last thing at night)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2-4 Tbsp brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 cup water

Layer ingredients in slow cooker in order listed. Turn on slow cooker to "low" just before you hit the hay and enjoy your winter feast in the morning!

No comments:

Post a Comment