I’ve spent my life eating normal, rolled oats as porridge and I’ve never been much of a fan. The texture is too blaaahhh and always makes me feel nauseous so I can’t finish the bowl. I inevitably end up hungry and grumpy – nooot good. The steel-cut-oat world had somehow eluded me until my mum found them here in the UK with the name ‘pinhead oats’. They do take a bit more time to cook (20 minutes vs. 5 minutes) but that is fine by me. Cooked steel cut oats are worlds away from their mushy, flat ‘rolled oat’ cousins. I like that they stay a bit al dente and that the longer cooking time means I can add other grains! I stirred in a few tablespoons of quinoa here but I imagine that short grain brown rice, amaranth or millet would probably be ace too.
Anyway here’s an autumnal twist, with a spiced, creamy purée to sweeten the deal. There’s quinoa in it but feel free to leave it out if you want.
– to roast a squash: cut a small butternut squash half lengthways. Scoop the seeds out of the bulbous base and discard them. Place the squash halves, cut side up, on a baking tray and roast in an oven preheated to 350 F (180 C) for 30-40 minutes, until fork tender.
– if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice mix use ‘mixed spice’ (if you’re in the UK) or mix up a batch of your own pumpkin pie spice mix: 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp ground allspice, 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1 tbsp ground ginger, 3 tbsp ground cinnamon. Store in a lidded jar, using as needed.
– if you don’t have a blender: use maple syrup instead of the date. Mash the puree ingredients together using a potato masher until smooth.
Scoop the flesh from the roasted squash into a blender or food processor along with the pumpkin spice mix, salt and date. Blend until smooth (or use a jug & an immersion blender) (if you don't have a blender or immersion blender, see notes).
For the oatmeal:
Place the oats, water and tea bag in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer - leave for 5 minutes then stir in the quinoa. Simmer for a further 15 minutes stirring occasionally. It should be soft and creamy but still retain some bite. Remove and discard the tea bag, stir in the salt and a splash of milk, if desired.
To serve, pour the cooked grains into a bowl and top with a dollop of the pumpkin spice purée, crushed pecans and pumpkin seeds.