So today’s final grain is the wheat berry. For those of you not familiar with this one, it is the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull), composed of the bran, germ, and endosperm. The grains, or berries, are a tan to reddish brown colour. What I love about them is their al dente bite and yummy taste. They are a great alternative to rice or other grains, and can be easily found in health food stores and some of your larger supermarkets. They are great as the base for a cold salad, mixed with diced veggies and feta. For this recipe we’re using them in a hot side dish, along with that trendy green kale! Be sure to check out my tips on how to de-stem and slice up the kale for best eating! The recipe below will serve six as a side dish and is definitely what should be on your table tonight! Enjoy!
1 ½ cups wheat berries
2 medium onions, halved, divided
5 sprigs thyme*
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon red chilli flakes, divided (to taste)
1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch kale, stems removed, cut into chiffonade/ribbons (about 8 packed cups)* §
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Combine wheat berries, ½ of 1 onion, the thyme sprigs, 1 garlic clove and 1 tablespoon salt in a large saucepan; add water to cover by 2″. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until wheat berries are just tender but still firm to the bite, about 35 minutes. Drain; discard onion, thyme and garlic clove. Place the wheat berries in a large bowl and allow them to let cool.
Cut remaining 3 onion halves crosswise into ½” slices. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add the onions. Mince the remaining garlic clove, and add half of it to the onions, along with ¼ of a teaspoon chilli flakes. Season the onions lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until onions are charred in spots, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the onions to the bowl with the wheat berries.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet. Working in 3 batches, add the kale and the remaining garlic and chilli pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Add oil as needed between batches, until the kale is charred in spots, about 1-3 minutes per batch. Add the charred kale to the bowl. Drizzle the wheat berries and vegetables with the lemon juice and any remaining oil; tossing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.