This may not be the most attractive dish to photograph, but it’s tasty.
While I love hot breakfast cereals, I am not always fond of having them sweet, so I came up with this savory version a few years ago just to have some variety. I know it may seem a little odd to some, but try to think of it like congee (aka jook), the Asian rice porridge cooked with everything from pork meatballs to tripe.
I make this in a Wolfgang Puck electric wok I bought from HSN. I kid you not – this thing is great when you need constant heat that travels the whole way up the sides of a sloped vessel and a non-stick surface that allows you to work smoothly with a heat-proof spatula. Normally I shun non-stick, but this is an exception because it prevents major oatmeal stickage.
What I give you here is my basic recipe, but you can fool around with it. This will make enough for 5 or 6 people, give or take.
Ham & Cheese Oatmeal
4 cups thick-cut oatmeal (not instant – the slowest cooking kind you can get)
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups milk
2 cups water
2 cups finely cubed cooked ham
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 – 2 cups aged (or extra sharp) white Cheddar cheese in small cubes
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1) Add oatmeal and all liquids to heavy guage dutch oven or similar vessel and stir to combine
2) Bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer
3) Cover and cook to desired consistency, stirring often, especially when the mass starts to thicken (I cook for 20 minutes when using the really thick oats)
4) Stir in pepper, ham and butter and allow to cook for another 30 seconds
5) Remove from heat and stir in cheese, but do not mix it in too much because you want to wind up with pockets of melted cheese
6) Cover and allow to sit for a couple of minutes
7) Serve in deep bowls under a couple of over-easy eggs, if you want to be fancy about it