A stew with wheat berries may bring to mind anything but summer, but a pot of bright, crisp summer vegetables combined with chewy wheat berries is satisfying and won’t weigh you down.
Since the wheat or rye berries are added cooked to the stew, you can substitute most any grain, though I would recommend you go with one that has some chew to it, like hominy or hulled barley, so it doesn’t get lost in the mix.
- Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- Total Time: 20 Minutes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 leek, including a little light green, rinsed well and thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper
- ounces green or wax beans, sliced into 1-inch pieces (1 scant cup)
- 1 small zucchini, pattypan, or summer squash, thinly sliced
- ½ cup dry white wine, vegetable stock (pages 97–100), or water
- 2 cups cooked wheat or rye berries (see page 417) or other slow-
- cooking grain
- 2 fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
- Put the oil in a large saucepan or deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s 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.
- 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.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until hot and bubbling, a minute or 2. Stir in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, cover, and turn off the heat. After about 5 minutes, add the basil and fluff gently with a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, if you’d like, and serve. Or let sit for an hour or more and serve at room temperature.
- QUICK WHEAT OR RYE BERRY STEW WITH FALL VEGETABLES You can make this through the winter: Instead of the leek, green beans, and zucchini, use 1 yellow onion, a couple of chopped turnips or carrots, and a small (1- to 1½-pound) peeled, seeded, and chopped acorn squash. Increase the cooking time in Step 2 to 15 to 20 minutes. Instead of the tomatoes, cut several green cabbage or chard leaves into ribbons (enough to make a heaping cup) and stir them in. Cook for about 5 minutes more, then finish with a tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage in place of the basil.
- QUICK WHEAT BERRY STEW WITH SPRING VEGETABLES A celebration: Instead of the leek, green beans, and zucchini, use 2 or 3 scallions, sugar 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 mint in place of the basil.