Foods: Roasted Roots and Wheatberries with a Lemon Vinaigrette

Friday, January 3rd 2014. | Food

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I do the same thing every year.  I buy in far too much veg for the holidays and then am left with a surplus which I am trying to use up at the beginning of the new year.   It’s usually a whole lot, but not a whole lot of anything, if you know what I mean.

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When I looked into my vegetable drawer yesterday I saw a whole lot of normal carrots, a couple of white carrots (Yes, I did say white.   Apparently that’s a variety.  I got them in a veg box in December) a few purple carrots (see my last explanation) an acorn squash, a small to medium sized white turnip.a bunch of fresh thyme and a few other odds and sods . . . most not in quantities large enough to cook any one thing, with the exception of the orange carrots. 

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 I peeled and chopped them into large pieces and added a chopped red onion and then I roasted them in a hot oven along with some garlic, a good grinding of black pepper, a few sea salt flakes, some olive oil and a few springs of that fresh thyme . . .

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Then . . . I roasted them in that hot oven for about 20 minutes, stirring them now and then  . . . until they were all nice and cooked through and beginning to caramelize.  There is nothing so tasty as caramelized oven roasted root vegetables . . . and while they were making their magic, I cooked some wheatberries in some vegetable stock until tender . . .

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And then . . . I tossed them all together in a bowl . . . the cooked wheatberries and the roasted vegetables and I added a deliciously tangy lemon vinaigrette . . . made with a couple of the lemons from my fruit bowl on the counter . . .

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After that I added a few broken up and toasted English Walnuts . . . again leftover from our Christmas Celebrations . . . and a handful of dried cranberries, just for some chewy sweetness and texture . . . and I mixed, them all together, yes I did, and sprinkled some flat leaf parsley over top, leftover again, from Christmas . . . and then . . .  do you know what we did???

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We ate it.   With large lumps of buttered crusty bread and some leftover stilton crumbled over top.   And do you know what else???

It was very, very . . . very good.

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*Roasted Roots and Wheatberries with a Lemon Vinaigrette*

Serves 6 to 8

Printable Recipe  

I like to cook my wheatberries in vegetable stock to give them more flavour.   You get the nutty chewiness of the wheatberries along with the sweetness of the roasted and slightly caramlized vegetables . . . doused in a tangy lemon and parsley vinaigrette.   This is delicious and pretty and looks fab on the buffet table!  (Not to mention it’s a great use for all that leftover extra veg you got in over Christmas!) 

300g wheat berries (1 1/2 cups)

2 litres of vegetable stock (I use swiss marigold powder. 2 quarts of liquic)

1 large red onion, peeled and cut into cubes

2 pounds of assorted root vegetables (carrots, swede, turnips, squash, celeriac, parsnips, jerusalem artichokes in any combination)
peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

olive oil to drizzle

a handful of fresh thyme sprigs

fresh ground sea salt and black pepper 

For the dressing:

the freshly squeezed juice of two lemons (about 60ml of 1/4 cup)

125ml of extra virgin olive oil

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 TBS  finely minced 

To finish:

a small handful of flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

60g of dried cherries or dried cranberries, coarely chopped (1/2 cup)

58g of chopped toasted English walnuts (optional, 1/2 cup)    

 

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Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F. gas mark 7.   Toss the diced vegetables on a baking sheet with about 2 TBS of olive oil, some salt and black pepper and the sprigs of thyme.  Roast in the heated oven, on the bottom rack for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring them once or twice.  They should be cooked through and beginning to slightly caramelize.

While the vegetables are cooking bring the vegetable stock to the boil.   Add the wheat berries and cook, until tender, but still chewy, about 30 to 35 minutes.

While the vegetables and wheat berries are cooking, measure the lemon juice into a large shallow salad bowl.   Toss iin the minced shallot and seasoning.   Allow to stand for about 10 minutes, then whisk in the oil. 

Once cooked, drain the wheat berries and toss them into the dressing, whisking it first.  Add the roasted root vegetables, discarding any thyme branches.  Stir in the cherries or cranberries and the nuts, if using.   Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  Toss in the parsley and serve.

You may serve this warm or at room temperature.  You can make it several days in advance, in which case you should store it in the refrigerator and then bring it to room temperature prior to serving.  Do not add the nuts or parsley until just before serving.  A bit of feta, blue cheese or stilton crumbled over top makes a nice addition!

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