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Author Notes: This is an excellent meatless main dish. It also makes a delicious accompaniment to roasted or grilled meats. You don’t want to serve millet along with fish. It’s an old Gullah legend that eating millet and fish together will make you sick, and we don’t want to run into any trouble.
Be sure to toast the millet in a dry pan before using in ANY recipe. This improves the texture of the finished dish because it allows the millet to become light and fluffy and removes the “bird seed” quality most people find objectionable. —ChefJune
Makes 6 servings as a first course, 8 as an accompaniment, 3 to 4 as a main course
- 2 ounces dried cèpes or porcini mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 2 hours, well drained (save the liquid!)
- 1 large portobello mushroom
- 4 ounces cremini mushrooms
- 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms (or chanterelles, if you can find -- and afford -- them)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup hulled millet seeds
- 1 medium-sized red onion, very finely sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 7/8 cups homemade vegetable stock (or purchased stock), water, mushroom soaking liquid, or a combination of liquids
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon Freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh chervil for garnish (use flat-leaf parsley if you can’t find chervil)
- Prepare the mushrooms. Drain the dried mushrooms, carefully saving all the liquid in a cup. Dry them on paper towels, and slice as thinly as you can. (This is not easy!) Use a damp paper towel to wipe off the tops of the rest of the mushrooms. Do NOT wash them! Cut off and discard the end of the stem of the portobello mushroom. Remove the remainder of the stem and chop it coarsely. Cut the cap in half, and, holding your knife at an angle, slice the cap into 1/8-inch thick slices. Slice the cremini and shiitake mushrooms at an angle and heap all the mushrooms together on a plate.
- Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and when it is hot but not smoking, add the mushrooms and sauté. Use a wooden spoon to move them around so they will brown on all sides. When they are golden brown and all the liquid they gave off has evaporated, remove them from the heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place the millet in the large heavy saucepan you will use to make the risotto, and stir over medium-high heat until the seeds turn golden, about 5 minutes. The millet will pop slightly as it browns. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl.
- In the same pan, place 2 more tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, and when it is hot but not smoking, add the sliced onion. Stir to separate the onion slices, and when the onion has gotten limp, turn the heat down to medium low and add the garlic. Let the mixture sweat an additional two minutes.
- Add the toasted millet, stirring to mix with the aromatics. Add all the liquid, the bay leaf, sea salt and the crushed red pepper and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat so the mixture simmers gently and cover the pot very tightly. Let the mixture cook for exactly 20 minutes. Then, remove the pot from the heat, but DO NOT open it. Allow the millet to sit for 10 minutes undisturbed. This is very important to the texture of the finished dish.
- At the end of 10 minutes, uncover the pot and add the mushrooms. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste, and fluff the mixture with two forks
- Wine Tip: a red Burgundy, especially one from Savigny-les-Beaunes, will complement this risotto perfectly.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Most Impressive Dinner Party Side
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cheap Feast
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Mushrooms
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