Sorry for the delay in posts. Since moving to Virginia I’ve discovered that I’m incapable of working when it’s snowing (which is a bad thing since it’s snowing a lot this winter). With the cats snugged up in bed and the air cold and the world white, I just want to curl up with a book or watch a movie (speaking of which, I have a new blog post up for my job on the 2010 Academy Award nominations for Best Foreign Language Film–I want to see them all!) So, inevitably, I do as I want and I end up making nothing spectacular or blog worthy (i.e. biscuits and gravy, A-K’s Raggmunkar, etc.).

But the one thing I did make that was new and delicious was this Sorghum Risotto. Risotto, of course, is just the technique of cooking a grain or vegetable slowly in a large amount of liquid (it can work with anything from rice to barley to a small dice of potatoes). So with this risotto I decided to use a new grain I picked up when I was in Atlanta: sorghum. Anyone who is gluten-free recognizes sorghum in its flour form, and I’ve made sorghum flour before by milling the grains in my coffee grinder. What I hadn’t done was cook the sorghum as a grain base.

The trick with sorghum is that it takes a long time and a lot of liquid to cook it (as compared to rice). If cooking it like rice, it generally takes about double the time (at least an hour) to soften the grain up (with a ration of 3:1 water to sorghum). For this risotto, the cooking time was well in the 2 1/2 hour range (without pre-soaking, which I recommend). I added a simple dice of carrots, sliced portobello mushrooms, and kale and ended up with a hearty, nutty, warming meal for these cold winter days. If you haven’t tried sorghum yet, I definitely recommend finding it and giving it a whirl–I love the nutty toothsomness of it and it reminds me a lot of barley, except gluten-free of course!

Sorghum Risotto

1 c sorghum grain
6-8 c vegetable broth
1 c coconut milk
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced and divided
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 1/2 tsp aleppo pepper
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
8 oz portobello mushrooms, sliced
5 large kale leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot (I used my cast iron dutch oven), heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the half of the onion and saute for 5-6 minutes, until tender. Add the half of the garlic and saute for 1 more minute.

Add the sorghum and coat with the olive oil, sauteing for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of broth and lower to a simmer.

Allow the broth to cook down and then add another cup. Continue until the grain is tender. Once tender, add the coconut milk and cook until the mixture is creamy.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, warm the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the remaining onion dice and the carrot dice and saute for 5-6 minutes, until tender. Add the remaining garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the oregano, thyme, and aleppo pepper and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add the mushroom slices and cook for 5-6 minutes until they begin to release their liquid. Lower the heat and add the chopped kale and cook for 7-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper as necessary.

Set aside.

When the sorghum is tender and creamy, add the vegetable mixture to the grain and incorporate completely. Cook for a few more minutes, then remove from heat.

Makes 3-4 servings.