Both my husband’s and my family live far away, so instead we celebrate Thanksgiving with the other family – our friends. This tradition of friends getting together at our house has developed naturally over the past ten years that we’ve called the West coast of Florida our home. I always look forward to that one Thursday in late November – usually, it’s cold enough to light a fire in our seldom used fireplace, and I have a bunch of new recipes ready for a test run.
Our Thanksgiving table is never a traditional one – I rarely cook the same dish two years in a row and our international circle of friends assures plenty of exciting variety. This colorful pilaf is destined to join this year’s celebration.
Up until recently, I had only heard of sorghum flour as a great gluten free option for baked goods. Then a bag of whole sorghum grains caught my eye in one of the isles of our health food store, and I had to try it out.
Sorghum is a nutritious grain native to Africa. It has a nice, pleasantly chewy texture and neutral flavor, which combines very well with roasted juicy cranberries and grapes, Brussels sprouts, nuts and aromatic herbs. If you are still looking for a flavorful veggie dish to complete your Thanksgiving table, this one is a winner.
Note: feel welcome to use different grains instead of sorghum, such as rice, barley, millet, farro, etc.
1 cup whole sorghum grains or other grains of choice – soaked in water overnight (important for sorghum)
1 lb brussels sprouts – ends trimmed and cut in half
about 3 cups grapes (I specifically love Thomcord grapes here)
8 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
large handful walnuts
3 tablespoons melted coconut or olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons each chopped thyme, sage and rosemary
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Drain and rinse sorghum. Place it into a large saucepan, pour 3 cups filtered water over it and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower heat to simmer, add a pinch of salt and cook for 50-60 minutes or until soft (the sorghum will still be slightly chewy, but cooked).
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rest of ingredients and toss to coat.
3. Spread on a rimmed baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, until brussels sprouts feel soft when pricked with a fork, but not mushy. Gently stir and turn the tray halfway through the baking.
4. Spoon the cooked sorghum into a large mixing bowl and add the roasted brussels sprouts with fruits, nuts, herbs and their caramelized juices. Stir gently to combine. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve immediately or keep refrigerated in an air-tight container and serve cold or at room temperature.