Amanda & Merrill

Millet with Cheese and Chives

April  5, 2011

Millet with Cheese and Chives

- Merrill

I nspired by our beans and grains editors' picks challenge, last week I decided to experiment with one of the grains on the list I'd never cooked with before: millet. A few weeks before, I'd come across a great-looking recipe for millet and cheddar polenta in a recent issue of Fine Cooking and was intrigued to say the least. (Let's face it: I'm intrigued by pretty much anything that sounds like nursery food and contains cheese.) I figured this recipe would be as good a place to start my millet research as any and set to work riffing.

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Whenever I cook grits, which are essentially the same as polenta, I use a combination of milk and water to make them extra-creamy. So I did the same with the millet, roasting the grains first to bring out their toasty flavor as the Fine Cooking recipe suggested. I let the millet simmer gently, as instructed, for about 40 minutes, until it became a thick, creamy porridge.

Instead of cheddar, I folded in tiny cubes of Asiago Fresco, a fruity, semi-soft Italian cow's milk cheese. Then, recalling from my experience recreating Al Forno's baked pasta with pumpkin that a small amount of blue cheese can add a subtle, almost unidentifiable zing, I stirred in a few crumbles. I finished it off with a generous grinding of black pepper and as a final touch, I tossed in a handful of chopped fresh chives. The resulting "polenta" was smooth and rich and lightly cheesy; most of the millet had completely broken down, but there was a pleasant chew from a semi-intact grain every now and then. Comforting and savory, this just may be my new favorite supper to snuggle up on the couch with.

Millet with Cheese and Chives

Serves 2 to 3 as dinner, 6 as a side dish

  • 1 cup millet
  • 2 cups milk
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces Asiago Fresco or Fontina, diced
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (I used Fourme d’Ambert)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon chopped chives

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.


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I'm a native New Yorker, Le Cordon Bleu graduate, former food writer/editor turned entrepreneur, mother of two, and unapologetic lover of cheese.


barr April 11, 2011
Another great trick is to cook this in a rice cooker. I toasted my grains then added it with 1/2 stock and 1/2 milk in my rice cooker. No worrying or stirring needed! Millet is a crop that needs little water to grow. It's now being grown in Colorado. Any left over cooked millet grains are a wonderful in any pilafs.
gluttonforlife April 10, 2011
Great recipe, Merrill! And very adaptable. I made this tonight with chicken stock instead of the milk and water; a raw cow's milk cheese and some Sicilian pecorino; and I stirred in some chopped oil-cured black olives, a little minced parsley and a couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche. A final sprinkling of smoked sea salt and it was just divine!
strozyk April 10, 2011
This looks delicious. That said, I think it's kind of a downer to see millet described as bird food that can be made luxurious. Food52 is such a celebratory site - why not just celebrate the use of an underutilized grain (in our part of the world, of course)? I guess as a GF gal I've gotten used to seeing grains and seeds being embraced in print - I know not everyone has the kind of pantry we're pushed into :)
Merrill S. April 10, 2011
Didn't mean to offend with the bird food comment -- we were really just trying to be humorous. As you can probably tell from the post, I found millet itself to be entirely appealing -- which is one of the reasons I didn't add a whole lot of complicated flavors that might mask its nutty, comforting qualities. It was absolutely my intention to celebrate a grain I myself had not been familiar with before.
gingerroot April 7, 2011
Merrill, this is such a fantastic application for millet! Cooked this way it seems lighter and fluffier than polenta. I made this tonight for dinner. To make it more of a complete meal, I sauteed some baby collards from our garden with shiitake and sliced chicken sausage, then stirred the mixture into the finished millet and served it in bowls, each topped with a fried egg. My three year-old (who helped with the collards) took one bite and said "I love porridge!" Thanks for such a great, versatile recipe.
I've been reading a bit about millet lately(I'm a food history person...). Tt's been around an awfully long time and is awfully good for you... so I ask, why did it slide into obscurity for so long??? Recipes like this prove it needs to find the limelight again... I actually have a few cups left after some experiments and look forward to trying this... great recipe!
MrsWheelbarrow April 6, 2011
Merrill, What I love the most about this recipe is how it makes me gaze at the jars of grains in the pantry, and the little bits and pieces of cheese in the cheese drawer and ponder whether there is milk or cream or creme fraiche in the fridge. This is a perfect scrounging dinner, as well as "nursery food."
gingerroot April 6, 2011
This looks really delicious. I love your addition of blue cheese - although I never really cared for it in my pre-food52 life, I really enjoy it now and love the rich, tangy flavor even just a little can add to a dish. Definitely looking forward to trying this soon!
fiveandspice April 5, 2011
I'm right there with you on loving anything that sounds like nursery food and has cheese in it! This looks wonderfully yummy and comforting!
Foodie-isms April 5, 2011
Merrill, I think you would also enjoy this recipe I posted back in February. Very similar to yours but with barley, sage, and cheddar. It's fantastic. I can't wait to try your version.
Merrill S. April 5, 2011
Yum! Great minds...
CalcuttaChow April 5, 2011
Merrill, this looks so tasty. I'm enjoying the use of a new grain and new cheeses and a less used herb. I think toasting the millet is a great idea. I do the toasting with split yellow mung beans before using in them in Indian dals. A poached egg on top of your millet would be yummy for breakfast.
Sagegreen April 5, 2011
Great ideas. Thanks!
Merrill S. April 5, 2011
Yes, fantastic idea! I love an egg on pretty much anything.