A friend of mine recently shared that she will be cutting both dairy and gluten out of her diet for the next year. She is the third friend of mine to make the decision to cut gluten out of her diet, a decision that I'm sure is a difficult one to make, but that has become increasingly common. I grew up with a dairy intolerance myself and rarely eat dairy these days, so I understood the challenges of that limitation firsthand.
As I thought about foods that she might want to introduce to her diet and recipes that could help ease the transition, I thought of the great Autumn Millet Bake recipe by Mark Bittman. I love this recipe, but it's not quite filling enough to make it a full meal (other than enjoying the leftovers for breakfast). I wanted to create a recipe that would be a perfect one-pot dinner for a busy mom with diet restrictions.
I think this is it - healthy, delicious, gluten-free, dairy-free, and super affordable. Millet is as cheap as rice (less than $2 per pound in the bulk section), and the chicken pieces can be swapped out for whatever is on sale (I got this great pair of bone-in, skinless chicken breasts on sale, but you may find chicken thighs or drumsticks to be cheaper). You don't even need to use broth for the liquid because the chicken will infuse the millet with all its juices as it cooks.
The end result tastes remarkably similar to a Thanksgiving meal. The millet takes on the flavors of the meat and aromatics like a great batch of stuffing (my favorite part of every Thanksgiving dinner). The sweet potatoes lend a sweet richness to the dish, and the chicken breasts are perfectly cooked through and tender.
Give it a try, whether you're gluten-free, dairy-free, or just plain hungry.
Baked Chicken and Millet with Sweet Potatoes and Walnuts (4 servings)
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, one sprig chopped and one cut in half
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup millet
kosher salt, to taste
1 medium sweet potato, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 large chicken breasts, skinless, bone-in (or 1 lb. of chicken pieces)
1/3 cup raw walnuts or almonds, chopped
Remove the lid and check to see if the millet is cooked fully. If the millet is not fully cooked (hard to bite into), add about 1/4 cup of water.