Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thick White Bean and Wheat Berry Soup

I love the combination of wheat berries and legumes because the wheat berries are kind of chewy and earthy, and complement the soft texture of beans.  The leeks and carrots provide a layer of sweetness.  Rosemary and garlic naturally and intuitively enhance the flavor of white beans.  Spinach rounds out the nutritional profile of the dish and makes it prettier and more colorful.  Cook a pot of white beans as I discussed in my last post, and use them in this and other dishes.  It is really easy to cook a pot of beans, even if you work all day.  You don't need to use them the same day you cook them.  If you are home during the day, you can soak them the night before, then cook them while doing other things around the house.  If you are out and about during the day, soak them before you leave in the morning and then cook them in the evening for use on future days (not for that night's dinner).  Once the beans are cooked, you can use them in a recipe like this for a relatively simple, wholesome meal.  This recipe calls for cooked wheat berries, which might pose a challenge for you if you are unfamiliar with them.  I have come to realize that you can buy raw wheat berries, which require a long cooking time and possibly a soaking time (makes them softer, but not absolutely required), or you can buy packaged wheat berries that have been parboiled, and only require about 15 minutes of cooking time.  I cooked a pot of wheat berries early in the week and used them for different things, including this.  If you have the packaged wheat berries, you can cook them quickly and use them in this recipe, or you could probably just add them to this without cooking them, just increase the amount of water or broth a little to accomodate the wheat berries absorbing liquid as they cook.  I am developing a "guide to grains" that I will post in the next few days, which will include information about wheat berries.

1 leek, sliced
4 carrots, diced
4 celery sticks, diced
olive oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3 cups chicken broth or water
2 cups cooked white beans
2 cups cooked wheat berries
2 bay leaves
¼ lb. chopped spinach
4 pinches dried rosemary
½ tsp smoked sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat extra virgin olive oil in pan.  Saute leeks for 5 minutes in olive oil over medium heat.  Add carrots and celery and sauté for several minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.  Add pressed garlic and stir.  Quickly add broth or water, then remaining ingredients.  Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  Remove bay leaves before serving.

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