Autumn Millet Bake – Matt Bittman
Chris’ comments: I found this while looking for good millet recipes. I wanted to feature millet because of its health benefits. (See our new Healing Foods page that we are building.) The recipe is by Matt Bittman, the author of many cookbooks, newspaper and magazine columns. I actually found it on Heidi Swanson’s fabulous food blog, 101 cookbooks. It’s taken from Matt’s cookbook, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I have to credit Heidi Swanson for the photography, too. This smelled so good, and the taste testing we did was so fabulous, that we couldn’t wait to dive in and forgot to take a picture. This dish has it all, color, texture, nutrients and a great taste. Plus its gluten free and vegan. What could be better?
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
1 cup fresh cranberries
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1 cup vegetable stock or water, warmed
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds or coarsely chopped hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a 2-quart casserole, a large gratin dish, or a 9×13-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. Be careful not to overdo it. 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. (Chris’ note: I found I had to add another half cup of stock). Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top, and return the dish to 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.
More of Chris’ notes: The next time I make this I will chop the squash into smaller pieces. It cooked all the way through just fine, but the flavors in this dish are so nicely balanced that if you hit a large piece of squash it gets to be a bit distracting.
I couldn’t find fresh cranberries in my small town (which is ironic since we grow them here in Oregon), so I settled for some lightly sweetened dried cranberries and reduced the maple syrup by half because I didn’t want it to be too sweet.
Cee doesn’t like the taste of sage so I substituted thyme and that worked well.
I used a beautiful organic butternut squash and the smell of it reminded me of summer while I was preparing it. Delightful!