On a quest to incorporate more whole grains into your cooking? Me, too. This time, I was exploring millet, an ancient grain gluten-free grain from the Far East. Millet has a mild flavor and cooks up quickly, making it a tasty, convenient, whole grain to think about for meals throughout the day.
Like all grains, before cooking millet rinse it thoroughly under running water and then remove any dirt or debris that you may find. The general guideline for cooking this is to add one part millet to 2½ parts liquid, either broth or water. Bring the millet and liquid to a boil in a pot, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes to get a fluffy-rice like textured millet. To impart a nuttier flavor to the grain, place the grains in a dry skillet over medium heat before you combine it with the liquid and stir them frequently to toast them. When they turn golden, after about 2 minutes, add them to the boiling cooking liquid.
Or, it can easily be substituted in for rice or barley in soups and stews, like this hearty Turkey Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Millet Soup. The seasonings in the sausage provide flavor for the whole soup, so it comes together very easily. You could add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes for additional kick. And feel free to experiment with other grains in place of the millet; just adjust the cooking times according to package directions.
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes, breaking it up with a spatula into small chunks, until it is browned, then drain in a colander and set aside.
In the same large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for about 4 minutes until golden. Add the broccoli rabe and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until the broccoli rabe starts to wilt slightly and begins to become tender. Add the chicken broth, salt and pepper, turn the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Add the millet and keep the mixture at a simmer, cooking the soup uncovered for about 20 to 25 minutes until the grains are fairly tender. Add the crumbled cooked sausage, and add an additional one cup or more water or additional broth, as needed, if the soup is too thick. Simmer for another 10 minutes to blend the flavors and taste and adjust the amount of salt and pepper as needed.