Saturday, 8 August 2009

Millet stuffed portabellas

I love millet. There I said it. Not many people love this amazing grain; and me, i am damn proud of my love. I guess a couple years living in a small village in western Mali eating it every day converted me. So honestly, I really love my millet...big millet with the husk on it cooked forever until its sticky like risotto, small lil millet that cooks like rice, fonio ( the lil -lil guys i can only find in Mali), the other day i was searching for big old millet and no one had it ( i should have checked at a shop selling bird food a friend said!!!), except for an Indian grocer who said they sold this type to grind into flour for a type of chapati...well well...millet chapatis...soon enough soon enough...but for now let me make an new foray into millet for the non lovers of this amazing, super protein dense whole grains!!!!

1 cup pearl millet ( large grains with husk/shell still on) soaked over night in water. (or use any other leftover cooked grain such as rice, quinoa, millet, barley, and skip the grain cooking steps!!!!)
4 portabella, stems removed ( save for stuffing)
1 small head fennel, fine dice
1 red pepper fine dice
portabella stems, small dice
1 zucchini, fine dice
2 cloves garlic
2 T tomato paste
4 T Grana Padana, or any other hard cheese, grated
1 T toasted fennel seeds, ground
1/2 t toasted chili flakes, ground

  1. Preheat oven to 375 ( 190 c)
  2. Drain your soaked millet and put in a medium sauce pan over high heat.
  3. Heat 4 times the amount of water as you have millet and pour over millet( let millet get a light toast on it before adding water) cover, simmer over medium heat, and cook till water has evaporated
  4. In hot saute pan add oil then sweat down the red pepper, fennel and mushroom stems.
  5. After vegetables have softened, add courgette ( zucchini) and garlic and cook a further five minutes.
  6. Add dried spices and toss to coat.
  7. Add tomato paste and cook a further 2 minutes .
  8. Check the millet, are the kernels fully cooked through ( is there still water, then drain, not enough water then add a bit more...its that easy)
  9. Toss vegetables with millet. Then add in cheese and season with salt and pepper and a splash of extra virgin olive oil ( EVOO).
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes ( more if using unheated leftover grains) until warmed through and a bit toasty on top.
I served this with a roast cauliflower puree (recipes on the blog, 28 June 2009) that was a combination of the recipe for roasting the cauliflower, then pureeing!!! That and a nice green salad will give you a healthy vegetarian summer meal with more protein than you could have believed ( millet truly is a super grain).

Use regular millet as you would rice. I simply heat a pan, add 1 part millet( of the yellow variety more common to your supermarkets) and once toasted, pour over just under two parts boiling water, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Then fluff the grain with a fork and you have a substitute for couscous that actually is a whole grain ( couscous is merely a very small form of pasta) and so tasty.

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