Please pass the…Sorghum?

I’ll admit that I can make our kitchen, and for that matter the sales team crazy. I read about food for fun. Lucky Peach, Food and Wine and Modern Farmer are all on my night stand and make their way on vacation with me. Cookbooks are like novels. The Mind of a Chef is my favorite television show. Watching David Chang make gnocchi out of grocery store ramen noodles is the coolest thing ever. I routinely ask the kitchen about the last thing I’ve read and how we can work it into our menus. The thought that everyone does not share this steadfast obsession never really occurs to me.
My one track mind often leads me to have a monthly, if not weekly, infatuation with an ingredient I’d like see worked into a menu or that I “have” to cook with at home. The latest ingredient that has captured my fancy is sorghum. I know, a very sexy choice. My worshiping of Sean Brock first caused me to stumble upon sorghum as an ingredient last year. I’d read about it being used in savory porridges, its stalks squeezed like sugar cane and boiled to make syrup and as a beer drinker known it is a God-send for those looking for a gluten free fermented beverage.

It was not until I ate at Beverly Kim’s Parachute this spring that I began to pay much attention to this cereal crop. Her Boudin Noir is a dish of genius. Served not as an encased meat but rather as a creamy mousse the boudin was served accompanied by a “seed salad” that included popped sorghum. The grain was treated as popcorn and resembled tiny little kernels of popped corn. Miniature popcorn…a caterers dream. So impossibly cute it! We could use it as caramel corn in desserts or a garnish for hors d’oeuvres. Be still my heart!
This ingredient of the month passed – as many before them have – finding its way into my parking lot of must use ingredients. Visiting my daughters in Madison, Wisconsin and the farmer’s market this weekend, I again came across sorghum. I purchased a jar of organic syrup grown, harvested, squeezed and boiled down by the farmer himself. Earthy, vanilla notes and lighter than molasses the syrup was reaching out to me to bring it home. I could use it in a cocktail with bourbon, on vanilla ice cream or maybe in gingerbread this holiday season. Another farmer was selling the sorghum stalks themselves! Two stalks, of course, made it into my bag. The thought of popping the grain, from the farmer off the stalk was too much for me to pass up.
Yes, Chef Nick has yet again heard about sorghum from me this week. Whether in the pasty department or in something savory you can bet I’m going to keep lobbying for this little grain to find its way into our menus soon. Unfortunately, for chef and the sales team, I have the opportunity to visit caterers in Australia later this month. This only means I’ll have a list of products and ideas that “have” to be integrated into everything we do! Hopefully upon my return I’ll see sorghum somewhere on the menu!

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Posted on October 14th, 2015 at 3:00 pm [ssba]