Dark Days: Wheatberries and Winter Vegetables
January 20, 2010 § 4 Comments
One of the things I used to love to make, before this year of local eating kicked in, was fried rice. Add shrimp or chicken and an egg and you’ve got Local shrimp fried…wheatberries. Well, it satiates the craving and really that’s the point!
This dish has become my favorite thing to eat after I’ve overindulged myself a bit too much (like, say, after a weekend in NYC), and have a fridge full of rapidly deteriorating veggies. I was in both of these situations last night,and was happy to have an excuse to make this delicious meal.
1 cup hard wheatberries (mine from Wade’s Mill in Raphine, VA- ordered online)
2 cups homemade chicken stock (must be high quality homemade, since this is where most of the flavor comes from)
1 cup water
2 cups chopped kale
5 button mushrooms, sliced
1 small sweet potato, cubed
2 small heads of broccoli (about 2- 2.5 cups), broken into small florets
6 small carrots, peeled and sliced
Half a small red onion
3 cloves garlic (1 grated, 2 whole)
1 small bunch of fresh thyme (or whatever herb you have around)
Salt and red pepper flakes
(The key is to get everything about the same size so it cooks quickly).
Boil the chicken stock and water with a few thyme sprigs and 2 cloves garlic. When boiling, pour in wheatberries. Cover pot and let cook for 30 minutes, or until berries are tender but still chewy. (*Do not salt the stock and water at this point, WAIT!)
After 30 minutes, uncover pot and let it continue to boil another 10-15 minutes while you cook your veggies. You want the water to boil out and the chicken stock to reduce to a rich brothy sauce.
On high heat, put some oil in a wok or wide deep skillet and toss in the onion and garlic (keep tossing with a wooden spoon so they don’t burn). Then, throw in each vegetable according to their hardness (and thus cooking time). Cook each for about 3 minutes. Mine went- carrots and sweet potato, broccoli, kale, mushrooms. (*You may want to add some water or some of the stock from the wheatberries to the pan if it seems to need liquid (especially with the kale), but remember the vegetables will release their water so only add a little at a time or it will get soupy. )
When the veggies are done, the stock should be reduced to about 1 cup of liquid or less (this is your preference if you want more or less). You may salt them at this point. Dump all the wheatberries and reduced stock into the veggie pan and toss all together. Sprinkle in some more fresh thyme and red pepper flakes, and salt to taste.
Voila! A very easy, comforting dinner, and healthy ready-to-eat lunches for the next couple of days. I usually make twice as much of the wheatberries and freeze half, this way the next time I want them I don’t have to wait 45 minutes for them to cook.
All vegetables came from my Star Hollow CSA, except mushrooms which came from the Local section at Whole Foods. Chicken stock was homemade from a stew hen (from CSA) and vegetable scraps. Wheatberries are from Wade’s Mill (ordered online), and grated cheese is Cherry Glen’s Crottin (bought in November at farmers market, and allowed to harden).