When someone who served as a judge for Iron Chef America’s Battle Oatmeal sends you a link to a recipe and says “This oatmeal will change your life,” you should believe him.
This oatmeal is spicy, fruity and wondrous. The recipe is by Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville and comes from Esquire.com, which also has an awesome food blog: Eat like a man. You should read it, even if you are not a man.
I found the recipe a teensy bit confusing because the measurements are pretty inexact and I tend to like more specific instructions. But it all worked out in the end.
One of the first issues was the ancho chile pepper. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to soak it or rinse it or wash it off or what. So I rinsed it off, which probably wasn’t the best idea. I would recommend just wiping it off with a damp paper towel. Then cut off the stem and pull the seeds out. Most of the seeds will be at the top part, so you can just throw that away. Then pull the pepper apart to get to the inside and throw away the rest of the seeds.
Then cut it up into the smallest pieces possible.
You shouldn’t wait until the end of the oatmeal cooking time to start this process, by the way. Go ahead and start dealing with the pepper as soon as you start put the oatmeal and water in the pot.
The oatmeal will look something like that when you start throwing all this other business in there.
Stir up the almond butter, then put in two heaping spoonfuls.
I chopped up the banana and then smooshed it between my fingers into the oatmeal.
If you don’t have a child-sized hand like I do (seriously, when my husband bought my engagement ring, the jeweler asked if I was Asian. I’m not), measure out 1/4 cup of dried cherries.
I have no earthly clue what a nugget of brown sugar is, so I used a heaping spoonful. And I guessed on the paprika, too.
Coconut milk is not the same as cream of coconut, or coconut water. You can usually find it with the Asian foods.
As for the final toppings: I sliced the apple normally, then halved the slices again to make them thin. It looked lovely, but next time I might chop it up. And I only used half a jalapeño between our two bowls — with no seeds. It made the oatmeal mildly spicy. So if you want yours medium to really spicy, toss those seeds in there.
Remember to be careful when handling these peppers! Wash your hands thoroughly after you touch them, before touching any sensitive parts. Unless you really want a burning… nose.
This will serve three normal people, or one rugby-playing Marine and one small-ish girl.
Life-changing oatmeal (This recipe from Esquire, with slightly more exact measurements)
Half cup McCann’s Steel Cut oatmeal
1 dried ancho chile pepper, deseeded and finely chopped (see instructions above and below)
2 heaping spoonfuls almond butter
1 peeled ripe banana
3 heaping spoonfuls honey
Small handful (or 1/4 cup) dried cherries
Pinch of salt
Heaping spoonful brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 Granny Smith apple, sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
*Note: This is a very flexible recipe. No one will die if you use 1/2 cup of dried cherries, don’t include banana or substitute peanut butter for almond butter. But I would recommend you try this way first, then mess with it on future occasions.
Place half cup of oatmeal and two cups of water in a small pot over medium-high heat until it is just starts to bubble but isn’t quite boiling, then turn it down to medium-low and set the timer for 20 minutes.
Wipe the ancho off with a damp paper towel, then cut off the stem and throw away the seeds. You may need to pull the pepper apart to get all the seeds out. Then chop the pepper up as finely as possible. Assemble the rest of the ingredients.
When the timer goes off, add the pieces of chile, the almond butter, honey, cherries, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon and paprika. Chop up the banana and smoosh it into the oatmeal with your hands. Stir the whole mess up and cook for about five more minutes, until oatmeal is tender but still chewy.
Add 1/2 cup coconut milk and stir. Divide into bowls, then top each serving with a spoonful more of coconut milk, a slice or two of the apple and some jalapeño (including seeds, if you want it spicy).