I meant to bring you a dessert today, because I think I’m #fun or something, but, you guys. It just.wasn’t.happening yesterday. Between a wasted pumpkin (not the costumed kind at a frat party), a custard leak in the oven, a smoldering towel because I guess the oven I was trying to clean wasn’t turned off after all, and a bottle of vanilla extract doing what I can only imagine was a very impressive mid-air somersault onto my floor… No dessert today.
Let me tell you, though — it smells fantastic in here. If I’m ever obscenely rich, I’ll be dumping a bottle of vanilla extract into my Pine-Sol bucket every damn time. Or, you know, telling my housekeeper to, while I’m taking some sort of ridiculously exotic pet for a walk on my Segway.
(… It’s a good thing I’ll never be obscenely rich.)
Onto the food talk!
This dish was inspired by a gorgeous millet bake from Mark Bittman/Heidi Swanson. That one features a sweet-savory butternut squash, cranberry, and sage combo. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a good Thanksgiving side, or vegetarian entree. This is sort of the same idea — just a bit more savory and earthy.
If you know me, I can almost hear you now. “Mushrooms? Girl, who are you and what have you done with Danguole?” I’ll tell you who I am… I’m a recent transplant from a place where I paid $30/pound for chanterelles. At Portland’s PSU market, those puppies go for $10-12, so it’s sort of a moral imperative. Besides, while it’s true that I’m not crazy about mushrooms, I like chanterelles quite a bit.
I’m liking greens as of late too, but I think this would be just as good without the chard. Spinach would also work very well. It’s not a make-or-break addition by any measure, and especially if you serve this alongside a big green salad, nobody can say diddly squat to you about eating your greens.
… Is it obnoxious when I give you options? It’s just that I’m indecisive myself. Be honest. “JUST TELL ME WHAT TO COOK, WOMAN” will not hurt my feelings.
Up until this point, everything here is vegan. After that, it’s a point of no return.
Can’t resist a good dollop, you know?
Now, about that dessert. I haven’t given up on today, so let’s go out for ice cream. Cool? Cool.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 3/4 cup millet
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 pound chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, tough parts of stems removed, roughly chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup vegetable stock, warmed, plus about 1/2 cup more, as needed during cooking
- 1/4 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts
- Fresh parsley and/or yogurt or sour cream (skip for vegan version obviously), for topping
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and oil a 9-inch pie pan or baking dish with olive oil.
- Heat up 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add shallot and sauté for a couple of minutes until soft. Then, add the millet and cook, stirring, until toasted and fragrant, 3 minutes or so. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or so. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish.
- Add more olive oil to the pan if it's dry, and when it's hot, add about half of the chanterelles. Cook, without disturbing them too much, until they lose quite a bit of water and begin caramelizing a little. This will take about 10 minutes. Repeat this with the other half of the chanterelles. Transfer to the baking dish.
- Finally, put the Swiss chard in the pan (don't worry if the pan is dry; the chard will lose water quickly) and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until wilted and cooked down a bit. Stir this into the millet-and-mushroom mixture and season the whole thing with salt and pepper.
- Carefully pour about a cup of the warm stock into the dish. Cover with foil and bake without disturbing for 45 minutes.
- Uncover the dish and turn the oven to 400 degrees. Taste the dish and season more, if need be. Add more stock if the mixture seems dry. Scatter the hazelnuts over the top and keep baking for another 10 minutes or so, until the liquid is absorbed and millet is cooked through. Serves 4-6.