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Millet and Cheddar Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

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Serves 4

  • by Anna Thomas from Fine Cooking
    Issue 109

Millet makes a rich, soft polenta, and sharp Cheddar highlights the mild, slightly sweet flavor of the grain. Roasted winter vegetables complete this warming vegetarian supper.

For the roasted vegetables
  • 1 lb. cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, trimmed and halved if medium, quartered if large
  • 1 lb. fresh pearl onions (any color), peeled, or frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
For the millet polenta
  • 1 cup millet
  • 5 to 6 cups vegetable broth, preferably homemade 
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. extra-sharp white Cheddar, grated (1-1/2 cups)
  • Sea salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil or melted butter, for serving (optional)
Roast the vegetables

Position a rack in the top third of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.

In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms, onions, and Brussels sprouts with 2 Tbs. of the oil, the garlic, thyme, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, stir the vegetables, and continue roasting until tender and browned, about 35 minutes total. Transfer to a serving bowl and toss with the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and the vinegar.

Make the millet polenta

Meanwhile, rinse and drain the millet. Put it in a heavy-duty 4-quart saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until it smells toasty and turns deeply golden, 7 to 8 minutes.

Add 5 cups of the vegetable broth and the butter and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Allow the millet to simmer gently, stirring after the first 20 minutes and then every 7 to 8 minutes thereafter to prevent sticking, until it becomes a thick, creamy porridge with a chewy texture, about 35 minutes total. If it seems too thick, stir in a little more broth. Stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt, if needed.

Serve the polenta in wide, shallow bowls with the roasted vegetables on top. Drizzle a little olive oil or melted butter over each serving, if you like.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 640; Fat (g): 34; Fat Calories (kcal): 300; Saturated Fat (g): 14; Protein (g): 20; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13; Carbohydrates (g): 68; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 1280; Cholesterol (mg): 55; Fiber (g): 13;

Photo: Scott Phillips

My family loved this. I did too but I'd like to experiment with the roasted vegetables: I think they could have used a little more flavour. I think I'll try serving with carmelized roasted brussels sprouts or perhaps serve with shallots roasted in balsamic vinegar. Either way, I'll definitely be making this again.

This was easy and delicious. I used Parmigiano Reggiano instead of Chedder, but really, really good. It came out of the pot looking like a cross between polenta and risotto. Yum!

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