This vegan recipe from "Grain Mains: 101 Surprising and Satisfying Whole Grain Recipes for Every Meal of the Day" (Rodale, $24.99) is inspired by a traditional dish served in the fall by many Japanese cooks to celebrate the arrival of the new rice harvest.
Authors Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough recommend cooking this dish in a flameproof 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole or Dutch oven; reposition the oven racks as necessary so when the covered casserole is placed in the oven there will be a couple of inches of air space overhead. Mirin is a sweetened Japanese rice wine available at Asian groceries and some supermarkets.
The recipe can be embellished following the variations below for nonvegans or carnivores.
Japanese-inspired brown rice and millet casserole
Prep: 20 minutesCook: 1 hour, 40 minutesMakes: 6 servings
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
5 ounces shiitake mushrooms stems discarded, caps thinly sliced
1 shallot, chopped
1 piece (1-inch long) ginger, peeled, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup medium-grain brown rice
1/2 cup millet
1/4 cup each: soy sauce, mirin
3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 sweet potato, peeled, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups shelled edamame
1 1/2 cups jarred peeled chestnuts
1 Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat; swirl in the sesame oil. Add mushrooms and shallot. Cook, stirring, until just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
2 Dump in the brown rice and millet. Stir to coat the grains in the fat and liquid. Pour in the soy sauce and mirin. As the liquid comes to a full bubble, scrape up any browned bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
3 Stir in the broth, sweet potato, edamame and chestnuts. Raise heat; heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally to keep the millet from sticking.
4 Cover; slide into the oven. Bake until the liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender, about 1 hour. Turn the oven off; leave covered pot in the oven to steam, 15 minutes.
Nutrition information per serving: 443 calories, 11 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 74 g carbohydrates, 13 g protein, 996 mg sodium, 7 g fiber
+ butter: Substitute 3 tablespoons butter for the toasted sesame oil.
+ chicken: Saute 1/2 pound diced boneless chicken thighs in the butter at the start of cooking. Add the mushrooms and shallots and continue with the recipe. Three cups low-sodium chicken broth can be used instead of vegetable broth.