Something other than bird food ... today we are talking about a super cereal..
I didn't know that millet existed until 15 years ago, once I discovered it , it was love; though it was not love at first sight: I needed to know and appreciate it, learning to toast it, cook it (and not overcook it) and transform it: into pies, croquettes, or add it to soups and stews.
Millet, original name Panicum Miliaceum, is a cereal of the Graminacee family, originally from Central Eastern Asia, previously cultivated by the Egyptians.
The word "mile" seems to derive from "mille" for its numerous grains.
For millennia it has been a staple food for African and Asian peoples.
In Europe, millet, together with barley, wheat, chickpeas, lentils, occupied a leading role in nutrition for many centuries until the arrival of corn.
Still in the early 14th century, during famines, millet flour was used for bread-making.
For centuries in Italy, millet polenta has been a typical dish in the northern regions.
With the arrival of corn, millet fell into disuse and became almost exclusively the food for poultry and all birds.
In Tuscany, millet is "food for birds". The first time I looked for it in the village they said to me: "Go to the civaiolo * you will find it there", Il civaioloio (in Florentine jargon) is the seller of dried legumes and cereals by weight, there I found the millet but I didn't buy it: when I told the civaiolo that the millet was for me and not for the hens, he with a loud laugh, replied that the millet that was on sale, was for animal use only. "Too bad for her!" I thought: millet is a super cereal:
It is a carbohydrate with a good protein component,
It is gluten free,
it is very digestible,
it is rich in mineral salts, including phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium,
it is slightly diuretic,
it is very energizing,
it is a natural fortifier for teeth, hair and nails.
Millet must be cooked, after which it becomes a versatile and easy to flavor basic ingredient.
Millet does not need to soak.
Rinse it well, drain it, and then toast it in a pan with very little oil until it dries well. At that point, for each cup of millet I add 2 and a half cups of cold water and a little salt and cook until completely absorbed.
It is very important to cover the pan once the water starts to boil.
The flame is lowered and it cooks slowly, until the water has dried completely.
At the end of cooking, you must remove the cover and leave it to cool if we want to use it for other preparations; or I season it with oil and eat it instead of bread or pasta.In winter I love to prepare croquettes with pumpkin and chickpea flour with millet, or a timbale with ricotta and chard.In summer, however, I use it instead of bread, baking it in the oven as a pie.On Sunday I will show you how to prepare it: it needs a few ingredients and it is a versatile recipe that you can modify by adding all the flavours that you want.
Something other than bird food ... today we are talking about a super cereal