Creamy Baked Millet with Butternut Squash

by autumn on October 3, 2012

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the butternut squash and saute for a couple minutes more.
  5. Add the millet, toss to combine, and remove from the heat. Pour the heated liquids into the skillet.
  6. Finally, add the salt and stir to distribute.
  7. 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.

Notes:

  • 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.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dan October 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I’m unbelievably impressed that you lived without an oven for a whole year! I lived in a hotel for 2 months with a similarly small kitchenette and wanted nothing more than a baked treat. Cake pangs are the worst.

But yes, the confines of a kitchenette force creativity in the kitchen. Kick ass.

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2 autumn October 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Thanks, Dan! Looking back, I sort of can’t believe I did it either?! I guess it’s not that weird for folks’ college years, but I was cooking for myself 100%, which made it a little more bonkers.

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3 Carol October 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm

This is so my kind of meal! Just lovely.

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4 autumn October 10, 2012 at 10:43 am

Thanks, Carol! I’ve found that I like the results of baking millet better than cooking it on the stovetop I think. Plus, it’s so easy to just stick in the oven.

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5 Rebekah October 18, 2012 at 8:24 pm

This looks amazing! And like you said, I love that you can flavor it just about any way imaginable.

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6 autumn October 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

Thanks, Rebekah! I’m so happy it’s fall and prime time for meals like this.

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7 Laura December 5, 2012 at 8:17 pm

How much rosemary do you recommend? It’s not listed in the ingredients. Thank you!

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8 autumn December 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Hi Laura, Oops! Glad you caught that. It should be fixed now.

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9 Laura December 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Thanks! I made this the other night, and it was delicious!

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10 Donna December 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Cooking millet for the first time tonight. It’s in the oven at 160 degrees (1 cup millet, 3 cups boiled water, 1 tsp salt). No lid. I see you cook with lid on… don’t know what I’m doing!

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