I love wheatberries. No, I really do. I loved them for years before I even knew what they were. Chris and I used to go to this restaurant, around the corner from our first apartment, Park and Orchard and they would serve this rice dish, with these little things in it that added a bit of crunch - I loved it (still do). Never knew what they were though.
Flashforward about 18 years, and I'm watching the Barefoot Contessa one day on FoodTV. She's making this Wheat Berry Salad (It was the Back for the Weekend episode. It looked good, so I thought I'd give it a go, and I loved it. I then realized, that's what those little things were in the rice at Park and Orchard.
Now, making that salad wasn't as easy as it sounds, because my local Shop Rite doesn't stock wheatberries. I'm not even sure they know what they are. So for a few years, I had that recipe tagged with no means of making it. Then into my life came, Whole Foods. In their bulk section, Whole Foods has tons of wheat berries. So I bought some for the salad and loved them. Knowing it's my only local source and knowing I don't get there near enough, the next time I went, I bought more ... and the next time .... and the next. Problem is I wasn't cooking with them. I need to find more wheat berry recipes.
So yesterday, I started with this one from, where else, Cooking Light, Wheat Berry-Black Bean Soup. Here's my portion (I topped it with some baked tortilla chips and Frank's Hot Sauce). Chris wanted a dollup of sour cream on his but couldn't find any in the refrigerator.
Chris really liked the soup. I thought it was okay. I'd make it again (to use up some wheat berries) but there are other Black Bean Soups out there that I like better. It was missing ... I don't know ... something. Perhaps if I figure that out, I'll make some adjustments. It got five stars (Outstanding) over on Cooking Light, I'd probably give it three (Good Solid Recipe). For you Weight Watchers out there, it's four points in one serving.
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups chopped onion
1 3/4 cups chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup uncooked wheat berries (hard winter wheat)
4 1/3 cups water, divided
2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; sauté 15 minutes or until tender. Stir in wheat berries; sauté 2 minutes. Add 4 cups water and broth; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour.
Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, 2 teaspoons cumin, and beans. Remove 1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce from can of chipotle chiles; reserve remaining chipotle chiles and adobo sauce for another use. Add adobo sauce to onion mixture; simmer 30 minutes or until wheat berries are tender. Combine remaining 1/3 cup water and tomato paste in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add tomato paste mixture to onion mixture. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
CALORIES 215 (14% from fat); FAT 3.4g (sat 0.3g,mono 1.3g,poly 1.1g); PROTEIN 10.5g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 80mg; SODIUM 704mg; FIBER 9.9g; IRON 3.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 36.4g
Cooking Light, JANUARY 2005