It’s really kind of amazing that here in the U.S. we think we have access to just about everything and yet, there are so many foods most Americans have probably never heard of, let alone try in their own kitchen. If you’re a gluten free cook or baker, you might have worked with sorghum flour, but how about the actual whole grain? Yeah, me neither. It was neat, if not a little humbling, to come across so many whole grains I had never given a thought in the Bob’s Red Mill Grains of Discovery kit.* As part of an ongoing series, bloggers have been participating in Google Hangouts to talk about their experiences with the grains, and I’ll be on during tonight’s broadcast where we are all about sorghum.
Why eat sorghum? Well, it’s unique in that it’s a chewy, small grain similar to barley or wheatberries, with the bonus of being gluten free. It does well in both warm and cold dishes, and you can even pop it like popcorn! (So I hear. I didn’t try it myself.) It does take a long time to cook, so you might consider making up a batch in the slow cooker to keep in the fridge and add to other dishes during the week. You could mix it with chopped cucumber, tomato, feta and a lemon-y dressing for a Mediterranean salad, or toss it into soup instead of rice or pasta. Sorghum may be relatively new in this part of the world, but it’s quite common in Indian and African cuisine. It’s also a good source of fiber and protein, so think of using sorghum in place of rice or other less-filing grains.
Unsure of what to do with sorghum, I started by cooking some just plain to get a feel for the taste and texture. And you know what? I overcooked it. Yes, it’s possible to overcook something that takes a long time to cook when you’re dealing with a baby on the move! But I confess, I kind of liked it. Just like I like scraping up the crispy bits of rice or steel cut oats that stick to the bottom of the pan when I manage to overcook those grains. (Am I the only one??) So I figured, why not turn this crispy stuff into a fun salad topping? My husband thought it was “different” but I thought it was pretty good, enjoying the variety of textures offered in this colorful main dish salad. More up his alley, I also made a sweet breakfast version in the slow cooker which I’ll be sharing on another day.
To find out what other bloggers have to say about sorghum, join us for a for the Bob’s Red Mill #GrainsofDiscovery Hangout tonight, October 9th, at 8:00pm EST. These chats have been happening weekly and you can also catch the playbacks from other hangouts on quinoa, chia, amaranth and farro. Why will you want to do such a thing? So you’ll be prepared in case you win your own Grains of Discovery kit courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill. Per usual, leave a comment for each of the following activities and I will notify the winner by email.
Contest closes at October 16th at 12:00am. Winner can choose a gluten-free Grains of Discovery kit if desired. Winner will be notified by email address. To learn more about Bob’s Red Mill and their massive product line, visit their website at www.bobsredmill.com. You can also find them on Facebook, on Google+ and on Pinterest.
Roasted Squash Salad with Toasted Sorghum
Yield: 2 servings
1/3 cup whole grain sorghum
1 cup water
1 small buttercup squash, seeded, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 links fully cooked, natural chicken sausage, sliced (I used wild mushroom flavor)
3 oz baby spinach
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablepsoon maple syrup
Rinse sorghum in a mesh sieve and add to a small pot with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 45-50 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and grain is chewy. Set aside to cool. (Can be done 1-2 days ahead of time; store cooked sorghum covered in refrigerator.)
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Toss squash with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes, turning once. Add chicken sausage to the pan and continue roasting for 10 minutes more. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add sorghum and toast for about 5 minutes, until starting to brown, stirring often. Remove from heat.
Place spinach in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, mustard and maple syrup. Pour about half of the dressing mixture over the spinach and toss to coat. Add the warm roasted squash and sausage and toss, allowing spinach to wilt slightly. Fold in toasted sorghum. Add additional dressing if desired. Serve warm.
Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com
*I received the Grains of Discovery kit for free and was asked to make a recipe and participate in a Google Hangout. I was not compensated for these activities.