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Colorado Millet Isn't Just for the Birds

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Colorado is the nation's leading grower of millet, a grain used mostly for birdseed but that's cropping up in more and more recipes, due in part to the fact that it's gluten-free and is a good source of protein, at 11 grams per serving (compared to protein powerhouse quinoa at 14 grams). Denver restaurants have been getting on board with the grain: the Fort recently paired Scottish salmon with millet pilaf, while Protein Bar includes millet in its organic quinoa blend. Millet has popped up on the menu at Boulder's Black Cat Restaurant and a metro-area vegan food truck was featured for millet-crispy treats in a 2013 NPR story about the humble grain. If you're looking to add a new Colorado-grown source of nutrition to your diet, keep reading for a recipe from Colorado Proud, the Colorado Department of Agriculture's food promotion division.

See also: The Nickel's Lamb Bolognese Is Perfect Comfort Food on a Cold Day

Chef Jason Morse is the executive chef for the Douglas County School District and also runs his own company, 5280 Culinary. He's one of Colorado Proud's go-to chefs for recipes featuring Colorado meat, dairy and produce. Here's his take on brittle, using millet for crunch and nutty flavor.

Colorado Millet Brittle 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons water, room temperature 2 teaspoons vanilla paste 1-1/2 cups cane sugar 1 cup water, room temperature 1 cup corn or cane syrup 4 tablespoons salted butter, softened 16 ounces raw millet 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Place parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and set aside. In a small bowl mix the baking soda, 2 teaspoons of water and the vanilla paste. In a medium saucepan combine the cane sugar, water and syrup. Cooking over medium heat bring to 240 degrees on your candy thermometer. Next, add the millet and butter and cook to 300 degrees. Be careful not to let the mixture get too dark, too fast. Adjust heat accordingly. Stir in the salt then add the baking soda mixture and allow to aerate (foam). Place this mixture onto the parchment lined cookie sheet and spread using an offset spatula to the desired thickness. Allow to cool at room temperature. Once cooled, break into pieces and store covered in a cool dry place.

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