Bacon Cheddar Savory Oatmeal
I usually think of oatmeal as a sweet breakfast. I like it with a little butter, some brown sugar, and maybe a dollop of peanut butter. But oatmeal is basically a sponge for flavor. It’s kind of bland on its own, but is great at soaking up other flavors.
Instead of going sweet, I decided to try a version recently that was solidly savory. Almost like an Asian congee bowl, this savory oatmeal is simmered with some onion and just a little bacon grease. The finished bowl is packed with umami savory notes.
It’s my new favorite weekend breakfast. Trust me when I say that this bacon cheddar savory oatmeal should be your new favorite oatmeal.
1) Roughly chop bacon and add to a medium pot over low heat. Cook slowly, rendering out bacon fat until bacon is crispy, about 10 minutes.
2) Remove crispy bacon bits from pan and drain off most the bacon grease, leaving about a tablespoon. Add diced onion and cook for a minute, using the onion to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan.
3) Add rolled oats to the pan and stir for 15 seconds. Then add water. Bring to a simmer, turn heat down to low, and simmer for 8-10 minutes until oatmeal is thick. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
4) Meanwhile, cook eggs over-easy.
5) Right before serving, stir in grated cheddar cheese.
Divide oatmeal between two bowls. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and crispy bacon. Top each bowl with an over-easy egg and fresh chives.
This oatmeal is pretty quick to make (it’s fine to use rolled oats instead of steel cut). The key is to build some layers of flavor.
The first layer is bacon! Start with thick bacon and chop it up and place it in a cold pot. You’ll cook everything except the egg in this one pot.
Cook the bacon over low heat for 10 minutes or so until the fat has rendered out of the bacon. Remove the crispy bacon bits.
Drain off most of the bacon fat, but leave about a tablespoon of it. You can eyeball it.
Then add the diced onion to the pan. Don’t overdo it on the onion. A little goes a long way.
As the onion cooks, it’ll release some water and use that to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan.
Time for the oats!
Actually cook the oats in the bacon grease for a few seconds like you would a risotto. The pan will look really dry.
Then add the water and bring the pot to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and let the oatmeal simmer for 8-10 minutes until it’s nice and thick. If it gets too thick, add more water, but 2 cups should be about right.
Season the cooked oatmeal with a little salt and pepper.
I like to add the cheese in two installments. Serve some right on top of the finished oatmeal, but stir some into the oatmeal while it’s cooking.
You don’t need to serve these bowls with an egg, but it really rounds out the bowl in my opinion. I recommend just cooking the over-easy. The soft egg kind of melts into the oatmeal bowl. Good stuff.
Divide the savory oatmeal between two bowls and top with some more cheese, crispy bacon, the egg, and some fresh chives.
This is home comfort food at its best.
Have you ever tried savory oatmeal?? I imagine the topping ideas are endless. Leave a comment!