Friday, January 4, 2008

Baked Millet

Wow. Do I know how to write catchy blog post headers or what? I do apologize, but the original name was too cute for me.

This what my version of Mark Bittman's Autumn Millet Bake (See? Cute.) I harbor no ill -will toward Mr. Bittman. His Minimalist column in the NY Times is a weekly must-read. He's a calm, reassuring voice in the my kitchen and his recipes work. Do yourself a favor and check out his column if you aren't a regular reader.

This recipe is from his new book, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and Heidi at 101 Cookbooks has a lovely post about it. I liked the idea of this recipe and thought it might make a really easy side dish. I ended up making a version that was rather unexciting compared to the original, but it was great for dinner tonight served with roasted green beans and fried haloumi cheese.

Go to Heidi's post for the original recipe and her helpful tips. I think this would be fabulous with tomatoes and zucchini with some feta sprinkled over the top at the end. Or puttanesca-style with tomato, black olives, capers and anchovy.

Tonight's version wasn't really exciting, but it was a great, easy method for millet (I could have made it more interesting by going middle-eastern by adding raisins and a little toasted cumin seed). The millet was cooked through perfectly and it was a very hands-off preparation. Here's what I ended up with.

A Pretty Tasty but Not So Exciting Baked Millet Dish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup millet
  • 1 cup chicken broth (may need 1/4 cup more), warmed (should not be refrigerator cold)
  • 3 cups of cubed butternut squash (3/4" pieces)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of piment espellette (or hot pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios (chopped or halved)
Heat the oven to 375.

Toast the millet in a skillet with the olive oil. This should take about 5 minutes: the millet will not get very brown but will start to smell nutty. Put the millet into an oiled 9"x13" baking dish (It will look like there is nothing there - trust the millet. It will fluff up a lot.).

Top the millet with the squash. Season with salt, pepper and the hot pepper. Pour the broth over everything. Cover the pan with foil and put it in the heated oven for about 45 minutes.

Peel the foil back and taste the millet. If it's still crunchy, add up to another 1/4 cup of broth. Toss the pistachios over the top and put the uncovered pan back into the oven. Raise the temp to 400 degrees and let it bake for another 10 minutes.

Serves 4 as a side dish.


scmom (Barbara) said...

That looks really good, but we have nut allergies. Do you think it would be just as good without the pistachios?

Sunday Cook said...

Oh sure thing. They aren't a requirement but they did add a nice crunch. Can you use soy nuts? The contrast between the fluffy millet and crunchy nuts is very pleasant. You might also try coarse breadcrumbs (tossed with chopped parsley, perhaps?) or just sprinkle a little grated Parmesan cheese over the top.

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