One of my favorite things about writing The Homemade Flour Cookbook was the chance to step outside the normal bounds of how I use grains/flours. There is a fun in-between of the whole grain and flours that can serve a few different uses. Cracked grains work great for morning porridge or as soup thickeners. Or in the case of this dish, polenta. This millet polenta is one of my favorite recipes that I use time and again. The texture is similar to corn-based polenta but is made from pulsing the whole grain in a blender to make a course flour. Better yet- the millet polenta sets up just like traditional polenta, meaning leftovers can easily be fried the next day.
Cheesy Millet Polenta with Roasted Asparagus
Use slightly cracked millet for a creamy polenta base- perfect for roasted vegetables and eggs.
- 1/2 pound asparagus
- 1 medium shallot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Millet Polenta (see note)
- 1 cup uncooked millet
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium-vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (see note)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
Heat oven to 400˚ F.
- Trim ends from asparagus and slice shallot into 1/8" thick half-moons. Place on a sheet tray (with parchment paper if desired) and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until the asparagus and shallots are starting to char, 22 to 25 minutes.
- While asparagus is roasting, pulse millet in a food processor or blender until the mixture resembles a course flour/meal. Place in a pan with the vegetable broth and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, whisking frequently. Polenta should be thickened and any pieces of millet should have softened. Remove from heat and stir in the butter/cheese, whisking until smooth. If the polenta has thickened too much, thin with a bit of milk.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan and crack eggs into the pan. Cook to desired liking.
- Assemble the polenta but dividing the millet polenta into two bowls. Top with asparagus followed by fried egg. Serve with hot sauce if desired.
Tips & Tricks: The recipe in the book calls for using onions and garlic but I really love the tang of the sharp cheddar- I don't like to cover it with the onion flavor. However, you can mince onion and soften it in a bit of oil before adding the polenta.
Always taste the polenta before adding salt. Different brands of vegetable broth have different salt levels and it can be easy to over salt.
Nutrition: see the information.
Step by Step
Variations for the Millet Polenta
As mentioned above, I use this recipe a lot. The polenta base is perfect year-round and compliments so many different vegetables. Also, it’s naturally gluten-free without a corn base. Just a word of caution- like with any homemade flour, if you crack extra and plan on storing it, keep it in the refrigerator. Freshly ground flour can go rancid fairly quickly!
Vegan: While the cheddar/polenta combo really makes this dish for me, you could leave out the cheese and butter. One of my favorite alternatives: roasted garlic. I’ve added quite a few roasted garlic cloves for flavor and a bit of creaminess.
Toppings: A few seasonal suggestions: tomato bruschetta for summer, roasted sweet potato for fall, or a roasted Brussels sprout/shallots for winter.
Grill it: If you don’t want to mess with turning the oven on for the asparagus, it’s the perfect time of year to turn the grill on. Get a stainless steel grilling pan to use with the vegetables.
I have a grain hoarding problem in that I keep too many on hand at all times. I’m overly stocked. However, for people who are just starting out or just want a few key grains to keep on hand, I always tell them to pick up millet. It’s quick cooking, doesn’t have as strong of flavor as quinoa, and can be used in so many different ways. A few of my favorite millet recipes: