Millet, Lentil and Potato Mash

DSC_0365I have been having fun learning about and cooking with the many wonderful ancient whole grains that are thankfully becoming more common, such as amaranth and quinoa.  For this recipe, however, I am focusing on millet.  I have had millet flour in my pantry for some time and often substitute it for flour in my baking, but I had never cooked hulled millet until now – and I am so glad I did.  This dish is the perfect comfort food.  It is creamy and delicious and way more interesting than plain old mashed potatoes.  Before I give you the recipe – here’s some information about the very under-appreciated millet:

First, millet is gluten-free.  Second, millet is rich in B vitamins (especially niacin, B6 and folic acid), calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.  Third, millet should be included on your list of heart-healthy choices because of its status as a good source of magnesium.  Magnesium has been shown to reduce the severity of asthma, reduce the frequency of migraines, lower high blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart attack.  Fourth, we all know that a diet rich in fiber from whole grains offers significant protection against many cancers.  Whole grains such as millet also contain many powerful phytonutrients whose activity has gone unrecognized because research methods have overlooked them.  There are many more reasons to eat millet.  Just google it and you will see.  Despite all our knowledge and advances, the ancients definitely consumed way better grains than we do today.  I love millet and can’t wait to create more recipes with it!  I hope you find this one as comforting and yummy as my family and I do.  While there are many steps to this recipe, it shouldn’t take that much time to make – as long as you can use three burners at once.

  • 1 head garlic
  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 c millet, rinsed
  • 4 1/2 c vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 c lentils
  • 1 c raw cashews (if you do not have a high speed blender, soak the cashews in water overnight and drain).
  • 1/2 c marsala wine
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t fresh thyme
  • 1/4 t dried marjoram
  • 1/2 t dijon mustard

Cut off the tip of the garlic to expose the top of the cloves and then rub with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt, wrap in aluminum foil, and roast at 400 for 35 minutes.  Let cool.

Emptied roasted garlic head is pretty as a flower!

Emptied roasted garlic head is pretty as a flower!

Boil the potatoes in water for about 15 minutes, until soft.  Drain and set aside.

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Place the millet and 2 1/2 c stock in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.  Let stand, covered, 10 minutes off the heat.

cooked-millet

In another saucepan, bring 1 1/2 c stock to a boil.  Then add the lentils and simmer, partially covered, 35 – 40 minutes.

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While the potatoes, millet and lentils are cooking, begin making the sauce.

Blend the cashews with 3/4 c water until creamy.  Add in the roasted garlic and blend again.  Spoon into a medium sized bowl.

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In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 c stock and marsala wine to a boil.    Boil for 5 minutes to burn out the alcohol.  While it is cooking, add the salt, thyme and marjoram.  Add 1/4 c + 2 T of this liquid to the cashew cream mixture.  Mix well.  Add mustard and the rest of the liquid and mix again.

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In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, millet and lentils.  Add as much of the cream sauce as desired and stir to combine.  I usually have some extra cream sauce that is wonderful on just about anything, from pasta, to fresh vegetables.

serves 6-8 as an entree and 10-12 as a side dish

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