I always enjoy reading Martha Rose Shulman’s “Recipes for Health” series in the NY Times. She usually chooses a set of ingredients for the week — grains, greens, beans — and creates four or five recipes using those base ingredients. The recipes are always creative and not too difficult to prepare. (I like her even more after reading today that she ghost writes dessert cookbooks and, like me, cooks and eats healthily most of the time but also has a bit of a soft spot for sweets/baking.)
Anyway, one of last week’s “Recipes for Health” was this millet and greens gratin. After seeing the beautiful beets with gorgeous greens at the fruiterer, and knowing we needed to buy beets in order to make borshch, I decided to use the greens to make the gratin for a mid-week supper. Also, millet is a great grain in salads or as an alternative to couscous and I liked the idea of using it in a gratin. I substituted Jarlsberg for Gruyere cheese (the latter is ridiculously expensive here in the UK) and adjusted some ingredient amounts, but other than that I tried to closely follow Shulman’s instructions.
The gratin turned out well: quite moist with a nice, chewy mouth-feel; flavorful, thanks to the greens, rosemary, and thyme; and just cheesy enough to feel indulgent. F said this dish made him picture a long-haired hippie in Birkenstocks — but in the best (i.e. tastiest) way.
Millet & Beet Greens Gratin (adapted from this recipe)
- 1 3/4 – 2 cups cooked millet
- 1 bunch of beet greens with stems (from 4 small beets)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1.5 tsp ground thyme
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese
- to taste: salt & pepper; grated Parmesan cheese (for the top)
- Cook the millet (this can be done well ahead of time): toast it for a few minutes, then add double the water and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
- Prepare the beet greens: wash them well, then blanch them for 1-2 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Remove them, run them under cold water, and let them drain. When the greens are cool enough, squeeze all the water out of them with your hands, then chop them small.
- Preheat the oven to 375F (190C) and oil a baking dish.
- Time for the gratin! Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium-high heat until they are soft. Add the thyme and rosemary, and cook for another minute.
- In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, yolk, and milk together. Stir in the millet, beet greens, and Jarlsberg. Season with salt and pepper to your taste and stir in the onions/garlic/spices.
- Pour everything into the baking dish and sprinkle the Parmesan over the top. Grate some additional Jarlsberg over the top, too, if desired.
- Bake the gratin for 25-30 minutes, then remove it from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.