Sunday, January 24, 2010

I made an Autumn Millet's good for winter too!

With the start of the new year, I wanted to up my healthy food intake a bit. I also tend to fall into food themes (see last year's "Winter of Cabbage", and the previous year's "Experiments with root vegetables") and this year was no exception - I've suddenly become interested in whole grains. First up: Millet. Maybe you already know how good it is; I did not until just last week!

I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks which is a blog with lots of healthy recipes, but it is actually a Mark Bittman recipe and is, unsurprisingly, very simple and delicious!

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus oil for the dish

3/4 cup millet
1 medium butternut or other winter squash or 1 small pumpkin, peeled seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (I used butternut squash)
1 cup fresh cranberries
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried (I randomly had fresh in the house)
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey (I used maple syrup - I'm not really a honey fan)
1 cup vegetable stock or water, warmed
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds or coarsely chopped hazelnuts (I don't like pumpkin seeds and didn't have hazelnuts. I ended up adding scallions and chopped walnuts for some crunch)

Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a 2-quart casserole, a large gratin dish, or a 9x13-inch baking dish with olive oil.

Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the millet and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden, about 3 minutes. Spread in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Scatter the squash or pumpkin cubes and the cranberries on top of the millet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the sage and drizzle with syrup. Carefully pour the warmed stock over all. Cover tightly with foil and bake without disturbing, for 45 minutes.

Carefully uncover and turn the oven to 400F. As discreetly as possible, sneak a taste and adjust the seasoning. If it looks too dry, add a spoonful or two of water or stock. (I added another quarter cup or so). Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top, and return the dish to the oven. (I skipped this part, and added my scallions and nuts after it was out of the oven) Bake until the mixture bubbles and the top is browned, another 10 minutes or so. Serve piping hot or at room temperature.

Serves 4 to 6.

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