(Watching Hamlet on Masterpiece Theatre as I write this, so beware the preposterous prose.) And why should you, the blog reader, pay attention to yet another insipid recipe-post in an unknown blog? Here’s why. Stephen—man of few praises—is sharing this repast with me. About three-fourths of the way through the first plate, I say to Stephen, “Well, you haven’t said anything about the new recipe yet.” A significant pause insues, and then, “I think it’s a little triumph,” he says, “Interesting textures, lovely blend of seasonings, healthy, balanced food.” So there you have it, don’t read on at your own peril. Heh.
First, though, a word about the rareness of some of this recipe’s ingredients. Millet is a much underused grain in our American culture. You virtually never see it anywhere but in bird cages as a treat, certainly not on restaurant menus, even veggie or health restaurants. But we have grown to love its nutty flavor. Millet is basically cooked like rice, about 15 to 20 minutes in two to two and a half times its own measure in water salted or flavored to your taste. Lamb never appears on some tables, and for most, perhaps one or two times a year (say Easter), unless one is of Greek or Middle Eastern extraction. Lamb chops are impossibly expensive, but leg of lamb is affordable sometimes, and ground lamb can be a positive bargain. Make sure it is lean, though. We also just don’t cook much with leeks and ginger, well, leeks in French fabrications, and ginger in Asian inventions. Finally, this recipe calls for feta cheese made from sheep’s milk, which is going to cost you about twice as much as regular feta. Go ahead and substitute regular feta if you like, but I guarantee you, you will be pleasantly surprised by the sheep milk version—both in the flavor, and in how LONG it keeps in the fridge. So here in this recipe are five things most Americans are not likely ever to “have on hand,” and almost never in combination—you will definitely have to go shopping.
- 1 cup millet
- 1 tsp. salt, divided
- 1 lb. lean ground lamb
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large or 2 small zucchini squash, julienned, then diced
- 1 med. thinly sliced leek (disgard the tough tops)
- 1 in. peeled, chopped ginger
- 1 lg. clove minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- garlic salt
- 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
- 1 lime, half squeezed, half cut in crescents
- 2 oz. sheep feta cheese, crumbled
Cook the millet in slightly more than twice the salted water for about 20 minutes until all the water is absorbed and set aside. Meanwhile, saute and chop the ground lamb in the olive oil until it has lightly browned. Be sure to chop the cooking lamb with a wooden spoon until it is in quite small pieces. As you have time, prepare the remaining ingredients as directed in the list. Add, in this order the leek, ginger, garlic, zucchini, parsley, lime juice and more salt, if desired, to the lamb and continue to stir and fry, about 15 minutes in all. Now stir in the cooked millet and blend thoroughly.
To serve, transfer a good helping, about 3 or 4 scoops, to the plate. Sprinkle about an ounce of crumbled sheep feta over the pilaf, and garnish with crescents of lime, which can be squeezed by hand if additional flavor is desired.
I am of the opinion that this recipe is truly my own creation, but please feel free to modify and improve it as you please. Enjoy.