It was cold, snowy and windy Saturday here in Flagstaff and I definitely had a craving for a thick, yummy and spicy stew. I thought a stew would be a perfect vehicle for the wheat berries we got last week and I was right! They are sweet, earthy and chewy and provide great texture in a vegetarian chili. Wheat berries remind me of barley, and like barley, are a great source of dietary fiber. This recipe makes enough for about 4 hungry people.
Before starting the recipe, I soaked a 1/2 c. of wheat berries in 4 c. of water overnight. I also soaked the pinto, black and kidney beans overnight in enough water to cover by 5 in.
1/2 c. wheat berries, soaked
1/2 c. black beans, soaked
1/2 c. pinto beans, soaked
1/4 c. kidney beans, soaked
1/2 onion, chopped
1 portobello mushroom, sliced
1 serrano chile pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
1 14.5 oz can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1/2 head spinach, chopped or torn (any winter green would work nicely here)
salt to taste
For the topping:
sharp cheddar cheese, grated
blue corn chips
I cooked the wheat berries in the same water I soaked them in. I boiled them on a low flame for about an hour. I kept tasting them to see if they were done. They should taste chewy, but not hard. Drain and set aside. After soaking overnight, I drained the beans and cooked them in about 6 c. of fresh water over a low flame for about 2-2 1/2 hours. Again, taste and check for doneness. If you had a pressure cooker, you could save time here or use canned beans. Once the beans were done cooking, I drained them (reserving the bean water) and left about a cup of their cooking water still in the pot. To this I added the wheat berries and the can of tomatoes. I happened to have some leftover quinoa from the previous night and I threw that in as well. I put this on a low simmer. While that was simmering, I sauteed the onion, serrano, chipotle, garlic, portobello mushroom in some olive oil and salt. When that was done cooking, I added it to the pot of beans. Then I added the spinach. I threw in a little chile powder and some salt to taste. If the stew looks too thick, you could thin it out with some of the reserved bean water. I let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes to let the flavors combine. I served it garnished with grated cheddar cheese, avocado and cilantro. I also added some blue corn tortilla chips for scooping.
This stew definitely satisfied my craving! It was warming, hearty and delicious. I tend to like things spicy, so adjust the flavors to suit your preference.