I’ve been so preoccupied with the inauguration festivities that the fact that September is National Oatmeal month might have passed me by had it not been for the Whole Grains Council blog announcing this non-partisan opportunity for wholegrain celebration. (See http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org/newsroom/blog for more details).
Rather than extol the fairly well known virtues of oatmeal, I thought I’d put in a good word for steel-cut oats. Unlike rolled oats, which are made by putting whole groats through a roller to flatten the kernels, steel-cut oats are the whole groats cut into bits by steel blade. For oat connoisseurs, they are a special breakfast delight.
Recipe for almost instant steel-cut oats: If you pour 4 cups of boiling water over 1 cup of steel-cut oats and let them soak over night, they’ll require only about 5 minutes of cooking the next morning.
But I’m actually here to encourage you to think about using steel-cut oats in soup, where they add body and a beautiful sheen.
Recipe: Steel-Cut Oat and Turkey Soup with Tex-Mex Flavors
Serve the soup with warm corn tortillas for dunking or crumble some tortilla chips on top just before serving.
For a pressure cooker version, add the oats along with the turkey thighs and cook under high pressure for 8 minutes, then allow the pressure to come down naturally.
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 cans (10 ounces each) diced tomato with green chilies
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 pounds bone-in turkey thighs, skinned
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
1 cup frozen corn, rinsed under hot water
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 to 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Freshly ground pepper to taste
In a large, heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Stir in the onion and carrot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes (with liquid), salt, chili powder, oregano, and cinnamon.
Add 5 cups of water, and stir to scrape up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add the turkey thighs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the oats. Cover and continue simmering until the turkey is tender and easily pulls away from the bone, 25 to 45 minutes longer, depending on the size of the thighs. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board. If the oats are not tender, continue simmering the soup uncovered until they are done. Otherwise turn off the heat. Skim off any fat that has risen to the top of the soup.
When the turkey is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred it into bite-sized pieces. Stir the corn and shredded turkey into the soup. Reheat, if necessary.
Turn off the heat, and stir in the avocado, remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the cilantro and lime juice to taste. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot in large bowls.
Add 1 diced zucchini for the last 5 minutes of cooking.