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Baked Millet Polenta Fries

Baked Millet Polenta Fries

Millet, which is an alkalizing grain, is considered by food historians to be the original polenta. Here creamy soft cooked millet is poured into a pan and allowed to set before being cut and crisped in the oven. You can certainly enjoy the soft millet as a breakfast or anytime porridge, too.
Author Fran Costigan

Ingredients

  • 1 cup millet
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, room temperature, more as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste note: most commercial broth is salty; do not add salt
  • Optional: For flavored fries: add aromatics, to the broth such chili flakes, cumin, curry to taste Oil or oil spray for the pan and top of the fries

Instructions

  1. Dry toast millet in a heavy bottom medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes, until the millet is lightly aromatic and just starting to make popping sounds. Remove from the heat.
  2. Pour the millet into a fine mesh strainer-- do not wash the saucepan – and rinse the millet until the water runs clear.
  3. Pour the millet back into the saucepan. Add the stock, and spices if using, and heat to a boil over medium high heat. When the liquid boils, lower the heat to a simmer. Cover, leaving the lid ajar and simmer 25 to 30 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Remove the cover a few times and stir while the millet cooks. Add more stock if the millet seems dry before it is finished cooking to creamy.
  4. When the millet is cooked, turn off the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes, covered. Lightly oil or spray the sides and bottom of a 9x9-inch baking pan.
  5. Spoon the polenta into the pan. Smooth the top with a damp spatula. Set aside to cool and set, which will happen in 15 to 20 minutes. Refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes until cold. The top will feel firm. Preheat the oven to 450°F while the polenta sets, or refrigerate at this point for up to 2 days.
  6. Cook the fries: Line a baking sheet with parchment. Oil or spray lightly.
  7. Loosen the sides of the polenta from the pan. Turn the pan over onto a cutting board. The bottom of the polenta will be damp. Cut the square into quarters, and them cut into sticks of your preferred size.
  8. Use a spatula to transfer the sticks, bottom side up, to the prepared pan leaving a bit of room between. Spray lightly with a cooking spray. Bake 15 minutes, remove from the oven and carefully turn the fries over. Bake another 10 minutes. Repeat until the fries are lightly browned edges and crispy.
  9. Serve hot with any sauce or dipping condiment.

Recipe Notes

The set polenta can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.