Friday, 20 March 2015

Millet-Polenta and Pan-Fried Leeks, Spinach & Peas

And I am back again already ;-) As I told you there are quite a few things I've made in the past two weeks that I'd like to share with you!

Today's post is about what I made today though, as I was surprised how well my "I-want-some-dinner-and-I-want-it-fast" experiment turned out.
I had been at the library until 7.30, working for five hours straight on an assignment without falling asleep - I am really surprised by that =P
So in fact my dinner was not that inventive, since half of the recipe was what I made yesterday (you don't have to make it twice in a row ;-) ) and the other half were the vegetables I had left. But it was very good! As was yesterday's, but I totally missed out on taking some photographs of that.

Today what I made was a millet-based polenta-like something with a green vegetable-assortment pan.

Polenta is usually made from coarsely ground corn and, in the Italian version, seasoned with parmesan cheese. Besides, some of the hot water, which the cornmeal usually is stirred into, can be replaced by stock or milk so that the dish has a richer flavour. Then, the mixture can be more or less creamy depending on how much liquid is used. It can be pan-fried or baked as well.
There is also an African version, called Sadza. Sadza is the made up of water, salt and corn only.

My version here is made of coarsely ground millet, since I didn't have any corn semolina and since my grain mill cannot grind corn anyway. Corn is about the hardest grain, which is why a very strong mill is needed if you want to grind corn.
I've found, though, that the flavour doesn't differ that much and the color is nearly the same too!

Before I've tried using cornflour, which is usually used for thickening liquids. The result was...well. Not quite what I had been thinking of and the colour I found to be a bit weird too.
So I do not recommend that.

In any case what I made with the millet was delicious, regardless of how any original version is supposed to be.

Total time for making both: About 30 minutes.


per person
75 g millet
200 - 230 g water
about 1/4 tsp salz
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tbsp butter

  • Using a blender, coffee grinder or grain mill coarsely grind the millet so that it has the texture of semolina. When it turns out to be a flour this is not a problem. The recipe will still work - only the texture is a bit nicer when the mixture is a bit more grainy.
  • In a small pot bring the water with the salt to a boil. While whisking with a whisk or a fork slowly add the millet semolina to the water and keep stirring. Holding the lid over the pot bring the mixture back to a boil. The bubbles that surface when the mixture starts boiling might shoot at you, that's why I recommend the lid. When the mixture is boiling immediately reduce the heat to the lowest setting and put on the lid. After about two minutes turn off the heat and whisk the mixture again. Put the lid back on and let stand for about 10 minutes so that the millet can absorb more water and soften.
  • Season with salt and nutritional yeast, whisking with the fork again. If the mixture is not creamy, add a bit more hot water (preferably from a kettle). Add the butter and stir until incorporated.
  • Spread out the polenta on a plate and top with your desired topping.

  • Alternatively, wet a cutting board. Pour out the polenta on the board and flatten to a disk with wet hands (be careful, it will still be hot) or a spoon so that it has the same thickness in all places. Heat a pan with some butter over medium heat and fry the polenta disk in it until browned.
  • To turn over, place a plate on the pan and turn around. Then add more butter to the empty pan and let the disk slide back into the pan to fry the second side.

Green Leek-Spinach-Pea-Assortment Pan

for 1 person as a side
1 leek
70-100 g spinach (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup peas (frozen)
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp olive oil
250 ml vegetable stock
curry powder
dried herbs (mixture of sage, thyme, majoram, basil)
lemon juice
lemon peel

  • Cut the leek in 0.5 cm rings. Finely chop the garlic.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan for which you have a lid (or a plate that fits on it) over medium heat. Add the leeks. Fry over medium heat for 5-10 minutes*, stirring often so that the leeks brown slowly and slightly. Then add the spinach and some of the stock to the pan. Cover and let bubble over low heat until the spinach is defrosted or wilted. Add peas and garlic. Add more stock. Let simmer, covered, for a few more minutes.
  • Season to your liking (with the spices suggested) and add more stock if the vegetables are too dry and burning.
  • Serve over polenta.

* At that point I started preparing the ingredients for the polenta and went on making it whenever the vegetables didn't need any attention.

I apologise for the photos not looking calendar or cookbook-like ;-)

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