Unlike quinoa, with which I had an instant love affair, millet and I had a rough first introduction. I scorched the bottom of the pan but thought the top part was salvageable. Eager to have my first taste of this "new" grain, I sat down with a big scoop of it. Not only did it taste burned, but it was pasty and beyond bland, downright awful. I ended up feeding it to the chickens. (Who loved it, by the way!)
It was a long time before I found the enthusiasm to give millet another try. But I'm so glad I did!
I absolutely love millet now. The greatest thing about it is how it makes me feel afterward -- satisfied. And not just satisfied from a full belly, but satisfied in a way that has me walk away from the kitchen to pursue other activities instead of scrounging in the cupboards for something else to eat. Perhaps that's what "nourishment" is supposed to feel like.
I know now what went wrong with that first batch of millet I made - I followed the directions too literally. Millet, more so than other grains, can vary in its cooking habits, so you do need to check on it occasionally, and even taste a bit from the top. If it doesn't taste done, and even if all the water has been absorbed, you might need to add more water and cook longer.
It's worth every minute of your time to get familiar with millet since it's one of those top-rated grains you're probably hearing a lot about these days.
I'm constantly on the lookout for new and delicious millet recipes, trying a new one at least once a week. The best of what these experiments produce, I'll add here.
Like a potato cake made from leftover mashed potatoes, these millet cakes are soft and creamy inside with a crispy exterior. To me, Millet Croquettes have a mouth-feel every bit as pleasurable as the best french fry, but a 1000% more satisfying on other levels. There's some real gourmet versions of millet cakes, but this recipe is pretty simple and "down home", being quick and easy to assemble.
When I make it, I make a big batch and keep it in the fridge to fry up a couple cakes as a quick lunch, or an anytime snack or a side dish with dinner. When I'm particularly lazy or pressed for time, I don't bother with the patty format and just fry it up like a mash.
You can use up other leftover millet dishes this way. To a millet salad I've grown tired of or that didn't quite meet my expectations, I add some yogurt and/or some Parmesan cheese to make a dough-like consistency, and fry it up in a little butter and oil. Delicious!
This particular recipe was inspired by what I thought were the best parts of two other recipes: Elson Haas' in A Cookbook for All Seasons and Sally Fallon's in Nourishing Traditions.
Hot Breakfast Millet is a great way to start the day. You can make the millet any consistency you like, from soupy to thick. I like mine cooked a little longer so it's thick, but a little experimentation will help you discover your preferences.
This is really more of an idea than a complete recipe. I threw this together one afternoon when I was hungry and the husband's chips and cookies were starting to hold an appeal. Knowing I needed to cook something quick but not having any grain "on the soak", millet was the obvious choice as it's in least need of soaking.
I was pleasantly surprised at how this turned out, but I realize some may feel it needs additional flavorings. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or allspice would be good contenders. Some, too, might like more sweet potato.
Maple Millet Cakes are simply an adaptation to the Maple Pecan Millet recipe above. Per my usual routine, leftover millet is made into patties and fried in the skillet. But these guys turned out to be so spectacular, I had to give them their own space here.
With maple syrup, they're great at breakfast; without the syrup, they work as a side with dinner.