A stew of wheat berries may bring to mind anything but summer, but a pot of bright, crisp summer vegetables combined with chewy wheat berries is both refreshing and satisfying.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus oil for drizzling
- 1 medium leek, including a little green, thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ pound green or wax beans, sliced into 1-inch pieces (1 scant cup)
- 1 small zucchini, pattypan, or summer squash, thinly sliced
- ½ cup white wine, vegetable stock , or water
- 2 cups cooked wheat berries
- 2 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil or parsley leaves
1. Put the oil in a large saucepan or deep skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. When hot, add the leek and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the green beans and zucchini and stir to coat with the oil. Stir in the wine.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are just starting to get tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Raise the heat a bit and stir in the wheat berries.
3. Cook, stirring frequently, until hot and bubbling, a minute or two. Stir in the tomatoes, season again with salt and pepper, cover, and turn off the heat. After about 5 minutes, add the herb and fluff the stew gently with a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve right away or at room temperature (up to an hour or so later), drizzled with a little more olive oil if you like.
Quick Wheat Berry Stew with Fall Vegetables.
You can make this right through the winter: Instead of the leeks, green beans, and zucchini, use 1 medium yellow onion, a couple of medium turnips or carrots, chopped, and an acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped. Increase the cooking time in Step 2 to 15 to 20 minutes. Instead of the tomatoes, cut several cabbage or Swiss chard leaves into ribbons (enough to make a heaping cup) and stir them into the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes more, then finish with a tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves (or a teaspoon dried) in place of the basil or parsley.
Quick Wheat Berry Stew with Citrus, Dried Fruit, and Nuts.
A nice change of pace: Instead of the leeks, green beans, and zucchini, use 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger, 3 or 4 small Valencia oranges or tangerines (peeled, thinly sliced crosswise, and seeded), and ½ cup dried cranberries or cherries. Instead of the tomatoes, stir ½ cup chopped dried apricots or dates into the pot. Finish with ¼ cup chopped almonds or pistachios in place of the basil or parsley.
Quick Wheat Berry Stew with Spring Vegetables.
A celebration: Instead of the leeks, green beans, and zucchini, use 2 or 3 scallions, snap or snow peas, and a handful of asparagus spears (sliced into 1-inch pieces). Instead of the tomatoes, use ½ cup fresh peas. Finish with fresh chopped fresh mint leaves in place of the basil or parsley.
This recipe serves 6, includes 1/8 teaspoon of added salt per serving, and uses 1/2 cup of water.