Sweet and Savory Millet Pilaf

March 12, 2009 at 9:32 am 15 comments

Goodbye winter

I drafted up and made this recipe quite awhile ago, back when the days grew dark by five o’ clock and the thermostat in the house just couldn’t seem to keep up with the chill of the winter air.  A big warm plate of Sweet and Savory Millet Pilaf was just the thing to have back then.  It’s a shame, really, that it’s taken me this long to get the post dusted off and polished for your visit.  A few cold days may still be ahead of us, but winter and her warm hearty dishes are on their way out.  I know my mind is certainly drifting towards bright blue skies with cottony clouds drifting on balmy breezes, all of which I’ll deliciously enjoy while laying on my back in warm sweetly scented green grass that tickles my knees.  Mmmmmm…

Carrot coins

Not to distract from this lovely dish a second longer lest the seasons change permanently even as I type, let me tell you about this pilaf.   It too, like the harbingers of spring, is full of rich aromas – heady cinnamon and nutmeg combining with bright ginger and orange.  The millet is a wonderful ancient grain that really doesn’t get enough face time, both in my kitchen and in modern cooking in general.  It has a nutty flavor that completes this dish in a way that rice or orzo never could. 

Uncooked Millet

Ah, and let’s not forget the stars of the show: carrots and cherries.  The carrots are of the dwindling bunch harvested from my garden last fall.  Cut into “coins”, they both brighten and lighten the final dish.  The cherries, dried by and procured from a local fruit vendor at the Headhouse Market last summer, are plump and intoxicating (in taste only) once simmered in the wine, orange zest and ginger.  I was so enamored with this particular combination that I later repeated it for a warm ice cream topping. 

Sweet and Savory Millet Pilaf

Gosh, now that I revisit this recipe in my mind, maybe I’m not so ready to wave farewell to winter after all.  Winter cooking’s deep mysterious flavors certainly have their allure. 


Sweet and Savory Millet Pilaf
A Straight from the Farm Original

1 C. millet
3 C. water
1 t. salt
1 t. extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ C. red onion, finely chopped
½ C. thinly sliced carrot “coins”
¼ C. white wine
½ t. grated fresh ginger
1 t. freshly grated orange zest
½ C. chopped dried cherries
¼ t. freshly ground nutmeg
¼ t. cinnamon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped toasted pecans (optional)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the water with a teaspoon of salt until the water comes to a boil. Add the millet, and bring to a boil again. Cover the pan and reduce the heat. Cook the millet for 20 minutes over low heat or until the water is absorbed.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Sauté the minced garlic until fragrant and golden.  Add the onion and carrots, sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, combine the white wine with the ginger and orange zest and then add the dried cherries.  Simmer in a small skillet until warm. Set aside.

When the millet is done, add it to the skillet with the vegetables and toss.  Add the cherries and any remaining liquid and toss again.  Season with the spices, salt and pepper.  Place in a serving dish and garnish with pecans if desired.  Serve warm as a side dish or chilled as a light lunch. 

(serves 4-6)


Entry filed under: Recipes, Salads. Tags: , , , .

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15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Holly Heller  |  March 12, 2009 at 11:36 am

    The recipe sounds awesome, but the photos are absolutely perfect – I mean, just really beautiful.

    • 2. Jennie  |  March 12, 2009 at 11:38 am

      Thanks, Holly!! 🙂

  • 3. Mojito Maven  |  March 12, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    this looks delicious! i really need to make it. it looks flavorful and weight watchers friendly!

  • 4. heather  |  March 12, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    just great! i had millet and quinoa porridge the other morning – i love how it almost melts into everything else, absorbing all the other flavors!



    • 5. Jennie  |  March 14, 2009 at 11:14 am

      Heather – do you have that recipe anywhere handy? I’d love to make porridge out of these two wondeful grains!!

  • 6. Kari  |  March 13, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    I will definitely have to try this one! Thank you so much for sharing! I also love the photos you did. I really like the first one of the photo of Spring, very cute! Question your last photo with the completed meal, the fork in it, is it bamboo? Was wondering where you got it and if there is a whole serving set like that. Looking for all natural serving utensils and dishware that’s why I ask.

    • 7. Jennie  |  March 14, 2009 at 11:12 am

      Kari – Thanks for the lovely comment! 🙂 The fork is made of a light-weight wood for sure. It might be bamboo but I’m not 100% on that. I got it at an Asian supermarket (Assi) in Lansdale, PA. It wasn’t in a set but there were also spoons (which I have) and knives so I’m sure you could make yourself a set. If you’re not in the area, try finding an Asian supermarket near you as they generally have great wooden wares for the kitchen.

  • 8. Leslie Green  |  March 14, 2009 at 7:37 am

    Stunning photos and what a wonderfully healthy dish!

  • 9. grace  |  March 14, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    what a lovely dish! i’m so glad you’re bringing attention to the wonderful grain known as millet. 🙂

  • 10. Hayley  |  March 14, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    I love the flavors you have going on here, and your photography is beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  • 11. Jennie  |  March 15, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Leslie, Grace, & Hayley – Thank you, lovelies! So glad you dropped by and took the time to comment. 🙂

  • 12. andrea mcclain  |  March 15, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    It looks yummy, will have to try sometime!! Great pics!!

  • 13. George Davis  |  March 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Your recipes are a fun adventure. The photography adds so much. My wife loves the first recipe we tried, the roasted potato and leek soup.
    I made some cold frames this past winter. Have a beautiful supply of salad greens and arugula here in Wilmington, DE.

    • 14. Jennie  |  March 17, 2009 at 7:07 am

      Thank you, George! I’m so glad you liked the soup recipe. And your coldframes sound very productive! I have some lettuce starting in mine. Spring is at our doorstep! 🙂

  • 15. muddywaters  |  June 17, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    This looks great. Today I tried a quinoa and millet pilaf at Local Burger in my hometown of Lawrence, KS. It was tasty, so I’m tracking down similar recipes. I like the idea of adding a sweet element.

    Thanks for sharing.

    I’ve looked at a few of your recipes, and this might be the direction I want to take my cooking.



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