Derek is not a millet fan. I remember him happily digging into a millet pilaf I made many years ago, and then almost doing a spit-take. “What did you do to the rice?” he asked with a look of intense disgust on his face. “This is the worst rice you’ve ever made!” So as you can imagine, I don’t cook a lot of millet. But Alma likes porridge, and I’m not the biggest oatmeal fan. I wanted to make some alternative-grain porridges, and I came across a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for creamy millet porridge. They say “slightly overcooking millet causes the seeds to burst and release starch, creating a creamy consistency that makes this grain ideal for breakfast porridge.” Sounds good! I think Derek’s main problem with millet is its somewhat dry, gritty texture, so I thought maybe he’d be willing to eat millet in a porridge. And he is! Alma likes it too, and for me it’s a nice change from oatmeal.
When I made this porridge for breakfast today, I served it with my Mom’s Ayurvedic baked, spiced pears. Alma isn’t normally a huge pear fan, but she likes these baked pears, which are seasoned with cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. And unlike with baked apples, she doesn’t even complain about the skin.
Creamy Millet Porridge // yields 5 large or 6 regular servings
- 1.5 cups raw millet
- 2-4 tsp. unrefined coconut oil (depending on how much fat is in your milk)
- 3 cups milk (original recipe calls for almond milk or another milk of your choice)
- 2.5 cups water
- optional toppings: maple syrup, cinnamon, pecans, etc.
- Grind the millet until coarsely ground [about halfway to flour] in a clean coffee grinder. You want about 3/4 of the millet seeds to be at least partially ground up.
- Melt the coconut oil in a 3-quart pot over medium heat. Once hot add the ground millet and stir for 2-3 minutes, lightly toasting. Slowly pour [it will spatter a bit] in the milk and water and whisk vigorously. Bring to a simmer stirring occasionally [it won’t be smooth yet], then stir until the mixture is fully combined and creamy.
- Reduce heat to low/simmer and place a tight fitting lid on top. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Do not stir while it cooks. Remove the lid and give it a few stirs. The consistency should be creamy and thick but pourable. If it seems runny place the lid back on for 1-3 minutes. If it’s too thick add a bit more milk to thin out. Pour into a bowl and let sit for about 3-4 minutes to thicken. Top as desired and enjoy.
I’ve made the Cook’s Illustrated recipe a few times, and Alma liked it, and Derek said it was okay. I was all set to make it again this morning, when I happened to come across a different recipe for creamy millet porridge, on the Edible Perspective blog. The authors says that the end result is like a mix between polenta and cream of wheat. Derek also talks fondly about eating cream of wheat as a child, so I thought I’d give it a try. The main difference between this recipe and the Cook’s Illustrated one is that this recipe has you partially grind the millet before cooking it.
The instructions say to grind the seeds until coarsely ground, about halfway to flour, or about 3/4 ground. What does that mean? There’s a photo but unfortunately the photo is not really clear enough to see what the ground millet is supposed to look like. I tried to achieve 3/4 ground using my coffee grinder, but totally failed. I ended up with some millet seeds entirely ground and some entirely whole. So I stopped when it seemed like about 3/4 of the seeds were at least partially ground up.
The original recipe is vegan, but mine isn’t because I’ve been using whole milk.
See the original recipe for some notes about adjusting the texture to get a thinner or creamier porridge, and about how to reheat the porridge. We haven’t tried freezing this recipe but we tried freezing the Cook’s Illustrated (unground) porridge and it didn’t freeze great. We liked it better fresh.
Update March 9, 2017:
The first time I made this it came out well, but the second time it stuck to the bottom of the pan and ended up somewhat lumpy. I think I had the heat too high to start, and I should have used a whisk to stir rather than a wooden spoon. I’ve updated the instructions above.
This time I used 1.25 cups of millet, 1/2 Tbs. coconut oil, 2 2/3 cups of milk, and 2 cups of water. It made enough for all of us for breakfast and leftovers for Derek and Alma to have another breakfast, but not enough for me to have two meals. Next time I’m going to make 1.5 cups of millet.