I chose a recipe that was relatively simple. I didn’t want to use multiple kinds of oats, any kind of dried fruit (not my favorite), or any other expensive bells and whistles. This recipe is essentially just steel cut oats, pumpkin, milk, water, sugar and spices. Nice and simple, and it doesn’t make excessive amounts, since I was only cooking for myself and my breakfast hating boyfriend.
The simplicity of this dish made for a relaxing weekend morning. It was beautifully sunny, and light was streaming into the kitchen as I got up and prepared the oatmeal. I popped it in the oven, and then lounged about answering emails while spicy, squashy aromas wafted around me. It seems impossible to start the day in a quieter or more peaceful way.
The results were delicious. I was concerned with how watery things were coming out of the oven, but everything thickened up within a few minutes. It tasted thick, rich, and spicy, just like pumpkin pie. Literally. Almost too much like pumpkin pie for breakfast. I would love to make more baked oatmeal in the future, but I think I will stick to less sweet, desserty variations.
Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup steel cut oats
1 cup pumpkin or squash puree
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 ¾ cups milk
2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat the oven to 375°F. In a large, oven safe saucepan or Dutch over, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the oats and saute until they smell toasty.
Push the oats up against the side of the pan, and melt the second tablespoon of butter in the now clear center of the pan. Add the pumpkin puree. Fry it in the butter, only stirring after about a minute. Stir in the sugar and spices and continue frying the puree for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Pour in the milk, water, vanilla and salt and whisk everything to combine. Cover the pan and put it in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, and carefully lift the lid. Stir the oatmeal. It will look quite loose still, but the oats should be tender. The oatmeal will thicken rapidly as it cools.
Source: adapted from Not Your Mother's Casseroles by Faith Durand, via thekitchn.com
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