My first NYC apartment was an off-campus studio I scored in the housing lottery senior year of college. It had a pink toilet, a radiator that was permanently encircled with paint-chip dandruff and—horror of NYC apartment horrors—it had a kitchenette. A two-burner/sink situation with a mini-fridge underneath, it was the accomplice to many an inelegant “one pot” meals.
I had just pressed the reset button on the few shakey culinary instincts that I had after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and, to put it mildly, I was on a budget. But, damn, if I wasn’t determined. I lived on 110th street, across the street from a Rite Aid and learned that it was the unlikely home of the cheapest cans of Goya beans in the neighborhood. There was hope and—when I was feeling committed—there were potatoes and garlic.
Can I tell you that I’m actually proud of the year I spent in an apartment without an oven? The intricacies of cooking with little are what stick with me: the beautiful little systems we have to make economy more elegant. Let the one pot meal a triumph, rather than a surrender.
Creamy Baked Millet with Butternut Squash
Yield: serves 3-4
- 4 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3 small shallots, thinly sliced
- 3/4 lb butternut squash, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup whole millet
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 t rosemary, chopped
- olive oil as needed
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine the milk and water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring as you complete the remaining steps. You want to heat this mixture just to the point it begins to steam.
- Add a three-second pour of olive oil to an oven-safe skillet with a lid. Saute the garlic, shallots, and rosemary over medium-high heat until the shallots are translucent. Reduce the heat if the garlic begins to brown.
- Add the butternut squash and saute for a couple minutes more.
- Add the millet, toss to combine, and remove from the heat. Pour the heated liquids into the skillet.
- Finally, add the salt and stir to distribute.
- Cover the dish and bake for 45 minutes at 400. After 45 minutes, remove it from the oven and allow the dish to set, covered at room temperature, for 10 minutes.
- Millet is a gluten-free grain that has a texture somewhere between quinoa and polenta when cooked. I can’t get enough of it lately! You can get it from Bob’s Red Mill.
- I spiced this with what I had (rosemary and shallots) which made for a pretty classic fall dish, but you could definitely try taking the flavor another way based on what you have. I was thinking harissa and preserved lemons could be awesome! I made another version with some end of season tomatoes and cheddar cheese.