Friday, June 6, 2014

Joining the Millet Bandwagon

Kristina over at Pioneer Woman at Heart mentioned in a recent post that her husband's blood sugar levels tested out a little high.  So she decided to incorporate into their diet a grain that is said to maintain and/or lower blood sugar levels.  That grain?  Millet.

I used to cook with millet much more often when we were following a vegetarian diet.  Kristina's post reminded me of how much I really like millet, and it's high time I started using more of it again.

Are you familiar with millet?  Some people think it tastes like rice, others liken it to cornmeal.  I think it has a rather bland but pleasant, nutty flavor.  Nutritionally speaking, it contains more essential amino acids than the more popular grains such as wheat, oats, rice, barley and rye.  It's also believed to be an outstanding anti-acid grain.  Most grains form acids in our stomachs, but millet with its high alkaline mineral content counteracts acids and is more easily digested.  Because of this quality it's a desirable food for people with ulcers or sensitive stomachs.

Back in 2010 I did a blog post on a Millet Loaf I make that is a favorite meal of my husband's.  Click here if you want to take a look at that recipe.

This morning while I was making a pot of potato soup, I cooked up enough millet to make some of my Millet Burgers.  (Recipe to follow.)

You may recognize these little pearly seeds as something you see in the bird seed mix you put out for the wild birds.  Despite millet's shining virtues, it's long been a neglected grain in the United States.  We grow it chiefly for hay or pasture . . . and bird food!

So here's my recipe for:

Millet Burgers

1/2 cup uncooked millet
1/4 cup peanut butter (smooth)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Good sprinkle pepper

To cook the millet, gradually add 1/2 cup millet to 2 cups of boiling water, stirring constantly.  Cover and cook over low heat about 30 minutes or until water is absorbed.

The millet will be cooked when there's no more water in the bottom of the pan.  Just be careful not to cook it too long . . . or you'll have burned millet and a nasty pan to clean.

Combine remaining ingredients with the cooked millet and mix well.

Form into patties and fry in oil (don't skimp or the burgers will stick to the bottom of the pan) in skillet until nicely browned on both sides.  Makes about 6 medium-sized burgers.

I cooked up two of the burgers for our dinner last night.  Neither of us were very hungry so we just had a Millet Burger and a big helping of green beans per Krazo Acres' way of fixing them.  (Carolyn, I never make beans any other way anymore.  Mmmm, so good!)

The patties are a little delicate to handle, but not a problem if you're aware of that.  We had two for dinner last night, I made another couple of them to have with our eggs this morning and froze the last two for a quick meal at a later date.

You can change the flavor of the Millet Burgers by adding different seasonings other than the thyme.  I like them with the seasonings you would put in a sausage mixture.  I've also added some BBQ sauce to the pan after frying the patties and let them simmer in that for a couple of minutes.  Or after turning to brown the second side, put a slice of fresh tomato and slice of cheese on top to melt a bit before serving.

Cooked millet is also great as a hot breakfast cereal.  Add cinnamon, nutmeg, sunflower seeds, raisins and milk or cream.

There are probably endless possibilities for incorporating millet into your diet.  Why not hop on the millet bandwagon with Kristina and me and share your recipes!


Kristina said...

Oh, I do have to make these! And how does Carolyn make those green beans? Yum!

Susan said...

Count me in, too! I will gladly hop on the Millet bandwagon with these burgers - and that millet loaf! Yes, Carolyn will have to repost that bean recipe...

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - Cook the beans as you usually would. Put in covered bowl to keep warm. In same saucepan, melt some saved bacon grease. (I use about a tablespoonful for the serving of beans enough for the two of us.) Saute some chopped onion in the bacon grease and then stir the beans back into that in the saucepan to warm well before serving. Bits of chopped bacon make it very special, but are not necessary.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Hey, Carolyn . . . sounds as if you need to provide a link to that post on making the beans with bacon grease. Please?

Carolyn said...

Ok, OK! I'll post the green bean recipe tomorrow, and it COUNTS as a post for the day! Bwahahahahaha!!!

As for the millet burgers, I have to admit I was a bit turned off at the mention of the peanut butter. Does it taste "peanut-buttery"? Or is it just an added fat/protein to the mixture. I'll try the millet loaf and do a post of my own.

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - I meant to say something about the peanut butter in the burger recipe and then forgot. No, you do not get a "peanut-buttery" taste to the burgers. (Thankfully! I don't think I'd like that at all.) I'm wondering if it's in there more as a binder than anything else . . . seeing as how there's no egg in the recipe. You must be sure to mix all of the ingredients thoroughly 'cause who wants a peanut butter burger? I thought I had mine mixed up well when I spied a lump of peanut butter that had somehow been missed by my spoon. I knew I wouldn't appreciate chomping into a big lump of the stuff when eating the burger.

LindaCO said...

Those look yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

tpals said...

I couldn't find millet at the grocery store today. Darn.

Leigh said...

Millet! That harkens me back to my vegetarian days too. I actually have a gallon jar of it in storage. I'll have to try your millet burgers and find Carolyn's green bean recipe too.

Wendy said...

I am going to have to try this...I have acid reflux and am having to change my way of eating...I love rice, so I am sure I will like this...thanks for the recipe and I would love to see more.

Joy said...

I have to say, I am really enjoying your daily posts. Nice to see and read how a fellow North Coaster lives. Hope you will keep it up.

Mama Pea said...

LindaCO - Hey, so good to hear from you! I was thinking about you yesterday and wondering where you've been. Miss your posts.

Mama Pea said...

tpals - Unfortunately, it's a grain that isn't generally popular with most folks. I get ours through our organic co-op in bulk, but I've also seen in prepackaged in small amounts. If shipping weren't so darn expensive these days, I'd send you some!

Mama Pea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mama Pea said...

Leigh - I think I used it so much during our vegetarian days because it was so versatile. And now I need to get back into the habit of using it again. I think you and Dan will like the millet burgers, and the Millet Loaf, too, if you find the time to check it out.

Mama Pea said...

Wendy - Oh, yes, I think it would be really good for you. Give it a go and let me know how it works.

Mama Pea said...

Joy - Thanks! I really enjoy blogging, but it's the old time angle. How to fit everything into a day's time. As far as posting every day each day in June . . . well, I've made it to day 7 but there's still a lot of the month left! ;o)

Dirt Lover said...

This sounds awesome! I've never used millet before, but I'm sure my local natural foods store has it, so I'll be getting some. I like to keep stuff like that in the pantry, so another option will be nice. I tried the green beans with dinner tonight, and they were great. I think that was my hubby's grandma used to cook green beans. Brings back fond memories of both of them. (Hubby and Grandma, not Grandma and green beans!)
It's been awhile since I've read blogs, it's nice to see what you've been up to.

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Lori! So good to hear from you! Hope you get back to blogging soon.

Yes, dried peas, beans, legumes . . . and grains (including millet!) are a mainstay of my pantry. You can make a LOT of meals from stores like that with just a few added condiments. Hope you get some millet and give it a try. Thanks for stopping by!