Prepare the night before in slow cooker! There's no question that steel-cut oats are superior in flavour to instant oatmeal, but the extended cooking time, constant stirring and sticky pot to clean can put off even the most loyal oatmeal enthusiast. Using a slow cooker eliminates the stovetop surveillance and mess, plus the oatmeal can be kept warm for late risers. You should use a 4-quart slow cooker or larger.
4 cups vanilla-flavoured soy milk*
4 cups water
1-3/4 cups steel-cut or large-flake (old-fashioned) rolled oats**
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
2/3 cup pure maple syrup, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed if frozen (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
* Soy milk stands up well to slow cooking, since it has been processed in such a way that it can withstand the high temperatures. Skim and 2% milk tend to break down and curdle during long cooking.
** If you find the oats a bit thick after cooking, just thin the mixture with a little extra soy milk or water.
Step 1: In greased slow cooker stoneware, combine soy milk, water, oats, cherries, 1/2 cup of the maple syrup, salt and allspice.
Step 2: Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or overnight.
Step 3: Turn off slow cooker and stir in remaining maple syrup. Add additional water, if necessary, to achieve desired thickness. If desired, serve garnished with blueberries and pecans.
Reprinted with permission from Donna-Marie Pye's Canada's Slow Cooker Winners (2010 Robert Rose).