Millet porridge with blackberry and cardamom compote

Perfectly comforting, creamy and thick. Millet porridge. Full of goodness to keep us full for longer and curb those mid morning cravings. Topped with a blackberry and cardamom compote and sweetened with wild honey, this is a breakfast that is worth having in the repertoire for the forthcoming cooler months.

I love the texture of millet and don’t limit it to just porridge. It’s often on our menu as an accompaniment to savoury dishes such as as my simple pork stew or as a main ingredient of a robust salad. It’s such a delicious grain belonging to the kasha family in Eastern European cuisine and one we eat a lot of in Poland. That’s the amazing thing I learned when I moved over to the UK a lifetime ago – Mr A had never eaten any kasha and considered it to be a part of bird food offering rather than a delicious and much healthier alternative to potatoes or white pasta.

It’s such a pretty grain too with its sunny yellow exterior and a tiny dark spot on each ball. It’s nutty in flavour and retains that yellow colour even once it’s cooked. And it pairs well with milk for a delicious porridge – any milk for that matter, whether it’s a traditional cows milk or a vegetarian alternative such as almond or coconut. I’m quite partial to this porridge being made with half cows milk and half coconut milk but when I’m feeling very virtuous I make it with water as per the recipe below and add cows milk for creaminess. I also like my millet porridge generously topped up with fruit compote. So as it’s blackberry season already and there are some proper whoopers out there in the hedgerows, what better fruit to use at this time of the year before we head into the apple and pear’s late fall kingdom.

As well as the warming qualities of the porridge itself, I also like to add cardamom to the compote to up that comforting factor a notch. It’s such a beautiful spice and one I like to use a lot but you may choose to leave it out, I appreciate it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Mr A is not too keen on cardamom so when I make this for all of us, I do leave it out. But I do urge you to freeze as many blackberries as you can whilst they are in abundance so early on. There is just quite something about pulling out a bag of frozen berries and quickly whipping up a blackberry compote to top a porridge or a rice pudding. I don’t tend to add much sugar when making blackberry compote and prefer to add wild honey to the dish itself. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 250 grams of millet
  • 250 ml of water
  • 250 ml of milk (animal or plant based)
  • pinch of salt
  • 300 grams of blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1/2 tsp of cardamom
  • honey to taste

Place the millet in a fine sieve and rinse it under a running cold water. Keep rinsing it until the water runs clear.

Once rinsed, add it to a large pan and top it with the water and half of the milk. Add the salt and turn the heat on to high to bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, stir it around, turn the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Continue to cook for approximately 20 minutes until the grains are soft but retaining some bite. Give it another stir and turn the heat off. Whilst it’s cooking off the heat, continue to add the remaining milk and stir it through to the desired consistency.

Whilst the porridge is cooking, place the blackberries, water and cardamom into a small pan. Heat it up on a medium heat until the blackberries burst their juices and continue to cook for few more minutes on low heat. I like my fruit to retain its texture and not fully disintegrate. You may want to check the tartness of your compote and if you find it too sharp, feel free to add a spoonful of sugar to mellow the tartness out.

To serve, place generous servings of the porridge into bowls, swirl some honey through it and pour the compote into a jug so that everyone can help themselves to it. Hope you like it xx

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