Savory, Steel-Cut Summer Porridge with Bacon, Sharp Cheddar, Fresh Tomatoes and Chives

If you’ve never tried a savory oatmeal before, this one, with bacon, cheddar, tomatoes and chives, is the place to start.

Steel-Cut Summer Porridge with Bacon, Sharp Cheddar, Fresh Tomatoes and Chives

Steel-Cut Summer Porridge with Bacon, Sharp Cheddar, Fresh Tomatoes and Chives

I’m blessed to live just a few miles from the actual, bona-fide Bob’s Red Mill store, though I was a fan long before I moved to Portland, thanks to their many excellent gluten-free products.When I heard about their upcoming oatmeal contest, the annual Spar for the Spurtle (whereby they select a representative to enter the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship  in Scotland), I had to at least give it a shot!

Alas, I did not make the finals-  but the results were so tasty I had to share it here anyway. My inspiration came from Southern grits, which were introduced to me by my friend Kimberly. Her Portland food cart, Blues City Biscuits, grows in popularity by the day, and for good reason! While her specialty is creative Southern biscuit combinations, she also serves up other classic fare from the Delta – like shrimp & grits. It was this savory comfort of this dish, completely a new experience for me, that motivated my entry. I ended up omitting the shrimp and sticking with optional bacon topping as the flavor focus, and the other pairings just fell into place from there. See if you don’t have an easy new breakfast fave after trying this.

The final three had their cookoff on Friday, and the winner was Laurie Figone with her Italian Pinhead Torta. Congrats to her and all the best to Bob’s in the Golden Spurtle!


8 slices bacon
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free steel-cut oats
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
about 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped (plus a tablespoon or 2 for garnish)
salt and fresh place pepper to taste
1 heaping cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

In a large skillet, cook bacon in batches, turning frequently, until browned and crisp.  Set aside on a paper towel. While bacon is cooking, bring the milk, water and stock just to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the oats and reduce heat to a high simmer. Cook, stirring regularly, for 20-25 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and oats are tender and cooked through. Stir in shredded cheddar, chives, salt and pepper, and taste for seasoning.

Just before serving, crumble the bacon, stir in the crumbles and top with a generous helping of the cherry tomatoes (even more than in the pic, if you’re anything like me at the height of tomato season) and extra chives. Having some cayenne pepper sauce on the side is strongly advised.

— posted by Anne


  1. Ayumi says


    This is probably a silly question, but which is it: American processed cheese or British Cheddar?

    Also, the photo link is broken.

    From the recipe alone, it looks delicious already!

    • says

      Any sharp cheddar will do! And thanks for the heads-up on the photo; that happened to some posts when we did a blog makeover recently. Will dig up a picture as soon as possible!

  2. says

    I get so jealous reading about everyone that is in or around Portland. I miss it there. How lucky to be so close to a real life Bob’s Red Mill store! This recipe looks fantastic! Oh, I wish I was there!!

    • says

      I truly am grateful to be here, and am reminded of it every day in some way, shape or form. Hope you get to revisit someday – and make a pilgrimage to The Mill!

  3. says

    Interesting recipe. It’s kind of a combination dinner/breakfast idea, with the bacon, tomatoes and chicken stock. I wouldn’t think of using those ingredients for breakfast. But, I guess if you can eat leftover pizza for breakfast, why not?

    • says

      Why not indeed? I do love bacon (new to the bacon experience, but still) and tomato in an omelet or frittata for breakfast, so it doesn’t seem too unfamiliar to me, but the chicken stock is a little bit on the new side, it’s true. I think this would be good any time of day, though! (Biased as I might be.)


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