Carrie’s Test Kitchen: Quick-cook steel cut oats

I am a huge fan of steel-cut oatmeal. My first foray into the genre came from a fab recipe out of Cook’s Illustrated, and it’s the only stove-top recipe I make (I have recently ventured into baked steel cut oatmeal, but that’s a different oaty animal). [Note That’s not a picture of my pantry up above…although I do enjoy buying huge bags of bulk oats.]
When I first heard about quick-cook steel cut oats three or four years ago, I curled my lip in distaste. Why, half the pleasure of steel cut oats is that you have to patiently wait for them to cook. That delayed gratification serves nicely to increase the satisfaction of finally dipping a spoon into a steaming bowl of grainy goodness.
Of course, the other half of the pleasure is the delightful chewy texture that you simply don’t get from rolled oats. The only chance I had to indulge in steel cut on a weekday was when I had leftovers from a leisurely Sunday morning at the stove…until now.
That’s right, I decided to suspend disbelief and actually test out this short cut to steel cut.
The instructions said to cook the oats in water, but I never do that. I swapped out my usual milk/water 50-50 split. The instructions said to simmer for 5-7 minutes for one portion, but I was making two portions, and it took 10 minutes (not surprising).
The texture was more runny than I usually prefer, but it wasn’t bad. The oats had good chewiness…and it certainly was fast! My main complaint was flavor, because my usual recipe involves toasting the oats in a pan with a little butter first. It’s an extra step that really helps build a delicious bowl (I mean, come on, the recipe came from Cooks’ Illustrated, and you know they cooked that oatmeal 5 million ways before they decided on the best way).
I noticed the other day that my Costco now carries Bob’s Red Mill Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats in a HUGE bag. Huge! I’m not sure if I’m willing to commit that fully, but I would definitely consider keeping a smaller amount in my pantry for a weekday steel-cut fix.