When Irish Oats Are Smiling

I am really enjoying Irish Oats, lately. It borders on obsession, really. Think oatmeal, but with a little more heft and chew.  Irish Oats are whole grain groats that are cut with steel, rather than rolled as traditional oatmeal. They are also called steel cut oats, or coarse cut oats. Golden in color, they are minimally processed and retain most of their distinctive flavor because the bran and the germ are not stripped away, as with traditional rolled oats.

John McCann’s is probably the most common brand. Bob’s Red Mill and Hodgeson Mills also market steel cut oats to most grocery stores.

But my real, current obsession with steel cut oats began after Mads posted her recipe for Bananas Foster Oats. She came up with the recipe in a jasmine infused moment of brilliance one morning in the shower.  Amazing what kind of clarity can come from a good, hot shower, eh?

I promise after you make Bananas Foster Oats, you will most definitely share my obsession. The buttery, caramel-ish sauce warms the ripe bananas just enough to bring harmony to the oats, and your morning. This is good in an indulgent where-have-you-been-all-my-life sort of way. Very similar to the Bananas Foster ice cream topping, but without the alcohol and drama of the flambe.  You’ll never crave “plain ol’ oatmeal” again. I can’t thank Mads enough for planting the seed on this one.

Decadent and whole grain, it’s a winning combination for my comfort food lifestyle.

Bananas Foster Steel Cut Oats

4 C. water

1 C. steel cut (Irish) oats

Pinch of salt

4 Tbs. butter

4 Tbs. packed brown sugar

Dash of cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Bring the water to boiling in a medium saucepan. Add the oats and stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until oats are soft; stirring occasionally.

This is after 20 minutes. The oats are not quite soft enough, and still a bit watery.

After 25 minutes, the oats should have softened, and much of the water will be absorbed. If you like your oats a bit thicker, then cut down the water in the recipe by about 1/2 cup. Cover the oats to keep warm while preparing the sauce.

SHORTCUT NOTE: If you are like me and don’t have 25 minutes to make oats in the morning, you can jump start the process the night before.  Heat the water and oats to boiling.  Once the mixture boils, turn off the heat, and cover the pot with a lid. Refrigerate the pot overnight. In the morning, reheat the pot to boiling, reduce the heat, and simmer the oats for about 10 minutes, or until oats are soft; stirring occasionally.

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a skillet over medium heat, stirring periodically.

Peel and slice the bananas into fairly thin slices–about 1/4 inch thick. This recipe is an excellent way to use over ripe bananas, and a nice alternative to making banana bread or smoothies.

Once the sauce melts and starts to bubble, add the bananas, a dash of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Stir the sauce to combine. Continue heating the sauce for 1 minute, or until bananas are warm, but not mushy.

Ladle the cooked oats into serving bowls.

And divide the banana sauce evenly over the oats.

Be prepared for a euphoric breakfast experience.  I’ve served this on several weekends, and each time our boys have run “victory laps” around the house due to their excitement over the upcoming meal. It’s just that good.

Bananas Foster Steel Cut Oats

(My version of Mads brilliance.)

Serves 4

4 C. water

1 C. steel cut (Irish) oats

Pinch of salt

4 Tbs. butter

4 Tbs. packed brown sugar

Dash of cinnamon

Pinch of salt

2 very ripe bananas

  1. Bowl the water in a medium saucepan over high heat.
    Add the oats and stir.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring periodically,  until oats are soft. Remove from heat, and cover to keep warm.
  3. Melt butter and brown sugar in a medium skillet, stirring constantly.
  4. Peel and slice bananas.
  5. Add bananas, a dash of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt to the brown sugar mixture. Stir to combine. Warm bananas in the sauce for one minute.
  6. Ladle the oats into bowls.
  7. Divide the bananas and sauce equally among the bowls of oats.
  8. Serve immediately and experience breakfast bliss.

Note: this recipe can be sized up or down to meet your needs. My general rule is:

1C. water, ¼ C. steel cut oats, 1 Tbs. butter, 1 Tbs. brown sugar, and ½ banana per person.

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  1. Keith S. says

    I’ve got the oats. I’ve got the brown sugar. I’ve got everything….

    …my bananas are green. :-(

    The waiting begins…

  2. Erik Kuszynski says

    I LOVE steel cut oats!! I’ve been eating them for years. Thanks for the tip on making them the night before.
    You may also want to try browning the oats with a little butter in the pan before you add the water to cook them. It brings out some nutty flavors that you wouldn’t ordinarily get.

  3. says

    yes, do the brown in butter thing!! Oh my…the Mister fairly gobbles these up..he loves when I make irish oats(with bananas)!
    However, my latest breakfast obsession is, ahem, chocolate oats. Yes, it’s true…
    cathy b.

  4. says

    Oh gosh…bananas in oats. How addicted am I? I usually go the bananas-granola-honey-pb route, but this would be a really nice twist :)

  5. Erik Kuszynski says

    Other ideas to add to your oats:
    -Regular molasses
    -Sorghum molasses
    -Agave nectar
    -Peanut butter and Jelly (Looks bad. Tastes great!)


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