Recently, I was at Mollie Stone’s market in Greenbrae, CA where there is a sizable bulk foods aisle and I was gazing at all of the varieties of gluten-free grains available there. In my kitchen, I have a shelf with glass canisters filled with staples and I just love the beauty of all the different-colored grains, beans, and pastas lined up next to each other. So when I saw these beautiful grains at Mollie Stones that I hadn’t tried in years, I just had to have them. Pearl millet and quinoa were the two I chose that day and I thought, ‘Why not make a pilaf?’
Once I returned home, I consulted the one book in my collection that was guaranteed to include a quinoa and millet pilaf: Annemarie Colbin’s 1989 book, The Natural Gourmet: Delicious recipes for balanced, healthy eating. If you’ve been following this blog at all lately, you will know that our family (specifically my husband) has renewed its efforts to engage in balanced, healthy eating. The last time I tried to do such a thing was 1990, and I have moved this book with me from place to place ever since.
Rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as protein, both of these grains are gluten-free and deserve a place at everyone’s table.
Quinoa and Millet Pilaf
adapted from the recipe by Annemarie Colbin in her book The Natural Gourmet
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
½ tsp ground cumin
1 clove of garlic, peeled and bashed
½ cup millet
½ cup quinoa (rinsed well)
2 ½ cups vegetable stock
Sea salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp)
Fresh curly parsley to garnish
1. Rinse the quinoa well. To do this, put the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and place a bowl underneath. Rinse with cold water while rubbing the quinoa between your fingers. The water will become cloudy. Drain, and repeat this process with fresh water two more times. Strain excess water and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 4 minutes, or until soft. . Add the carrot sauté for another 4-5 minutes. If you need another touch of olive, don’t hesitate to add just a teeny bit more. Add the cumin and garlic and sautée for another minute. Now we are going to toast the grains so that they have a rich, nutty flavor. Add the millet, and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Now add the quinoa and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes more. Again, stirring frequently to coat the grains with the olive oil, aromatic vegetables and spices, and to prevent burning.
3. Add the vegetable stock and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer and, covered for about 30 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Fluff before serving and garnish with fresh parsley (or fresh cilantro sprigs would do well here too).