Monday, March 5, 2012

Millet and a Skillet

Several weeks ago I went to the health food store in town and picked up this fun box of goodies. I went to the store for some more buckwheat flour at hopefully a better price then the grocery store had it and came out with a few extra things.

Amaranth graham crackers, millet, soy nuts, wheat berries, mango green tea, pilaf mixture, dried green and red peppers, red quinoa, the buckwheat flour and that boom choco boom dairy free rice milk bar that was very delicious! I got all of that for $35 which I think was pretty good especially considering that the red quinoa was $14.95.

Back to the meaning of this post. The millet. I have had the millet in the cupboard for all these weeks but I haven't found a recipe that just grabbed me and made me want to try it so I did what any good food blogger does and made my own recipe last night.

This is what millet looks like before you cook it. It is almost like a bigger version of quinoa or couscous. It cooks very simply like quinoa or rice but the ratio is more like 1/2 cup millet to 1 1/2 cups water. I actually used 1 cup millet and the same amount of water and it turned out fine. There are various opinions of course but I did not want mushy millet so I went with less water. It may have been a bit undercooked but I was adding some moisture with the tomatoes and peppers.

And this is what it looks like when it is cooked. The trick with millet is to keep it from being mushy. So the cooking process is a bit different than rice or quinoa in that you need to leave the lid off, cook it for no longer than 15-20 minutes, and stir it a few times while it is cooking. Millet has a little hint of a corn kind of taste to it or I have heard others say it is like polenta but I wouldn't know. It has a better taste straight from the spoon not mixed with anything than quinoa does but I don't think it is quite as versatile as quinoa. I made 2 cups which equals more like 4-5 cups cooked.


So last nights recipe started with some green, yellow, and red peppers sauteed with red onion, and garlic in some olive oil. I cooked them just a bit not wanting them to loose any of their color and then added a can of fire roasted tomatoes and a can of diced chilies (no picture, sorry) and let that warm up and cook a bit longer.
I then moved this to a large bowl.

I diced up 2 chicken sausages and cooked them in the same pan but later added a third. Just a personal preference and I was taking it to small group to feed hungry men. Add that to the bowl of peppers.

I then added the sausage and millet to the bowl and stirred in a bit of reduced fat pepper jack cheese and dried cilantro because I had no fresh. Topped it off with a bit more cheese and kept it warm in the oven until it was time to leave.

So Yummy! Miles says it has a bit of a Spanish rice flavor only better and the ladies at small group requested the recipe, which is why I am posting this right now while I still remember what I did, and my best friend who is the pickiest eater I know even liked it. She doesn't touch anything resembling rice with a ten foot pole so it was a great compliment. Even her 11 year old daughter came and told me she liked the dish I had made. Compliments from kids mean the most! Winner, winner, millet dinner!

In case you were wondering millet is a very healthy ancient grain. It might not stack up quite as well to quinoa but it provides the following nutrients your body needs.
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Maganese
  • Tryptophan
  • Phoshorus
  • Fiber
  • B vitamins
  • Antioxidants
Studies have shown that magnesium can help reduce the severity of asthma and frequency of migraine attacks. So if you suffer from either you should definitely add millet to your diet. In addition it also provides serotonin which helps to calm and soothe your moods, is alkaline, is a heart healthy choice, and digests easily.

I ate some millet for breakfast with some warm coconut milk and blueberries and I think I will be stuffing some peppers with it later in the week. More experimenting will be necessary for sure!

Spanish Millet with Peppers and Onions

3 cups cooked millet (approximately 1 1/2 cups uncooked)
Half a red onion, sliced thinly
Half of each of a red, green, & yellow pepper
2-3 garlic cloves minced
1 can fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
1 can diced chilies
2-3 chicken sausages sliced and cooked
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro or 1 tsp. dried
1/2 cup reduced fat pepper jack, shredded
2 tbsp. olive oil

Rinse millet. Add 1 1/2 cups millet and approximately 3-4 cups water to a pot. Cook on medium, uncovered on stove for 15-20 minutes stirring a few times. Set aside and fluff a few times with a fork while it cools. Saute onions, peppers, and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and chilies. Cook for 5-8 minutes until warmed through. Remove mixture to a large bowl and add chicken sausage to skillet. Cook until browned and add to the pepper mixture. Stir in cooked millet, most of the cilantro, and half of the cheese. Top with a bit more cheese and the rest of the cilantro for presentation. Keep warm until ready to serve.


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