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Oats, Glorious Oats

“That’ll keep you regular,” chuckled the delivery man.

He had just handed me a hamper filled to the brim with oaty products from Flahavan’s, and, as I surveyed the contents, I had to agree that this little lot would probably keep me in good working order for some time to come.

Flahavans hamper

Oats and then some

The occasion that had warranted such a generous oaten influx was Flahavan’s annual Porridge Week, which heralds the onset of those falling temperatures that induce us to both stay under the covers and contemplate porridge when we arise.

And while my winter breakfast needs were now clearly taken care of, I knew that, for variety’s sake, I would have to use some of my oaty spoils for non porridge purposes. With that in mind, I perused the little recipe booklet written by Mary Flahavan that had come with the delivery.

Tasty oat recipes

A little bit of oaty inspiraton

And there it was, amongst the flapjacks, crumbles, bakes and pies, nothing less than oatmeal in a soup. Now, while it may not be tremendously fashionable to put oatmeal in a soup these days, it was quite the thing in ancient Ireland. In his book, The Country Cooking of Ireland, Colman Andrews provides a recipe for Brotchán Foltchep (or “the king’s soup”), a leek and oatmeal affair that was apparently a favourite of St. Columkille back in the 6th century. I thought that the least I could do was take that old soup idea and give it a 21st century spin. I reached for some coconut milk and a new soup was born.

Oatmeal and coconut soup

Not your average 6th century fare: oatmeal, leek and coconut soup, with broccoli and almonds

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Oatmeal, Leek and Coconut Soup

Oatmeal and coconut soup

In Scotland, where they are also fond of their oats, this would be called a ‘brose’, which is a term for anything thickened with oatmeal. The addition of coconut milk, however, sends this soup on a journey far to the east of both Scotland and Ireland. Having previously used coconut milk in porridge, however, I knew how nicely it could work with oats. The pinhead oatmeal, in particular, both thickens and gives a nice bite. It’s Asian flavour meets Irish texture.

You’ll need:
  • 3 tblsp pinhead oatmeal (i.e. steel-cut oats)
  • 25g almonds
  • 1 tblsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium-sized leek, white and light green parts finely sliced (about 75g sliced leek)
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tblsp finely chopped root ginger
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 1 tblsp lime juice
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • approx. 100g broccoli florets, sliced
  • 1-2 tblsp freshly chopped coriander
You’ll also need:
  • A couple of baking trays for toasting the oats and the almonds.
The Steps:
  • Preheat your oven to 180C
  • Spread the oats and the almonds on two separate baking trays and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes or until both the oats and the flesh of the almonds have browned lightly. Set aside to cool and crush or finely chop the almonds.
  • Place a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the vegetable oil and, when hot, add the leeks. Stir and fry for about 3-4 minutes, until the leeks start to soften.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and stir and fry for another minute or so.
  • Add the toasted oatmeal, stir briefly, then add the coconut milk, lime juice, salt, a few twists of black pepper and about 250ml water. Bring to the boil then cover, lower the heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the oats have softened.
  • Add the sliced broccoli and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes more or until the broccoli is cooked to your liking (I prefer it to retain a little bit of bite). Add more lime juice, salt and/or black pepper to your taste and if the soup is thicker than you’d like, thin with additional hot water.
  • Serve sprinkled generously with crushed toasted almonds and chopped coriander.
The Variations:
  • I think you could certainly use french beans in this soup either in place or, or in addition to, the broccoli (and added at the same time).
The Results:
  • Makes 2 hearty servings of soup


  1. Joie de vivre

    I LOVE this idea! I’m also glad you’ll be in good order for quite some time. ;)

  2. Aisling

    I want to try this so much I think I might buy a leek specially on the way home… though there’s a courgette in my vegetable drawer that is haunting me.

    Does anyone else suffer unloved-food guilt?

  3. Sophie

    What a lovely, apart & festive soup this is!!

    I have never heard to add oatmel to a soup before but it must taste great because the flavour of oatmeal is great too & it is good for you too!

    A divine soup, daily spud!

  4. Julie

    Oh wow! I love savory oatmeal recipes and this one looks amazing.

  5. sippitysup

    Oats, oats and more creative oats! Great soup. GREG

  6. Kathryn

    Hey! Just stopping by to let you know we’re giving away a signed Sandra Lee cookbook with 1,001 recipes over at Chew on That! We’d love for you to enter! The giveaway ends on Halloween, so hurry over! :)

  7. Daily Spud

    Joie de Vivre: it’s always good to know :D

    Aisling: oh gosh I suffer from unloved food guilt all the time – it’s known in my kitchen as the oppression of the vegetables…

    Sophie: it was my first time to add oatmeal to soup, but not the last :)

    Julie: hey, thanks for stopping by – glad you liked!

    sippitysup: always happy to get your approval Greg :)

    Kathryn: thanks for the heads up!

  8. Susan

    Just made this. Truly a taste treat!

  9. Reeni

    I never heard of oatmeal in soup! But truly I love everything about this one. Especially the luxurious coconut milk!

  10. Daily Spud

    Susan: I just love hearing that, so glad you enjoyed

    Reeni: thank you m’dear and congratulations on still being right up there in PFB!

  11. Nil Zed

    Ive made the brotchan feltcip using oat groats instead ofoatmeal. Verypilaf-likeand yummy. Try it!

  12. Colette O'Donovan

    What a lovely warm soup. I love it and wil definitely pass it on to my family and friends. Heres to great

  13. Daily Spud

    Nil Zed: right so, I will!

    Colette: Hear, hear. Great health is one of the best things we can wish for our kith and kin – followed closely by a great soup, of course :)

  14. Colette O'Donovan

    of course! Soup IS IT… well nearly mmm

  15. Tangled Noodle

    Speaking of regular, I often have a bowl of oatmeal for lunch. But I’ve yet to have it in any form as marvelous as this! Asian flavor and Irish texture sounds like the perfect combination in one bowl. Now, what else do you have in mind for the rest of your oaty loot?

  16. Daily Spud

    Colette: let’s hear it for soup!

    Tangled Noodle: well I have mostly been eating the oatmeal for breakfast, though I really should make some more of that soup, and I could definitely do with a batch or two of flapjacks… :)

  17. Savory Simple

    That soup is a work of art!

  18. Daily Spud

    Why thank you Savory Simple, very kind of you to say so :)

  19. AislingB

    I FINALLY made this, and it only took months. Absolutely delicious, goes with my pinhead-oatmeal obsession beautifully. Thanks for posting!

  20. Daily Spud

    Hi Aisling, delighted that you liked this so much. I think it’s probably about time I made this again myself!

  21. Joanna

    Hi there! This recipe sounds delish and I was hoping that you might add it to my Easter and Spring Linking Party to share with my readers. If you are interested, you can go here http://bakedbyjoanna.blogspot.com/2011/04/easter-linking-party.html to enter. Thanks!

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