Sunday, December 8, 2013

fall wheat berry & kale salad

Our Thanksgiving was so lovely this year! Dinner with friends Jill, Ethan & Mimi...lots of singing, impersonating Rocketttes, sipping thyme-pom-gin 'n tonics, and devouring delicious dishes and pies. Jill made a delectable sweet potato casserole and two amazing pies (chocolate pecan and chocolate icebox - which is insanely good). I don't typically try new things at the holidays, but I did make a wheat berry & kale salad that provided a little texture change and a nice room temp dish with our dinner.
2 pound peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
about 6-8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups wheat berries
10 ounces Tuscan kale, stemmed, leaves sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick (4 cups)
2-4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine like a sauv blanc or pinot grigio
seeds from 1 pomegranate
Preheat the oven to 400°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with 2-4 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender. Transfer to a large bowl. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, prepare wheat berries according to directions. I bought wheat berries in bulk and needed to soak overnight and boil for about 50 minutes - some packages only take about 30 minutes to boil. 
Clean kale and chop well into shreds. Add the kale to the wheat berries, cover and remove from the heat; let stand until the kale is wilted, 5 minutes. Drain well and add the wheat and kale to the squash. Add the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the oil to the salad, season with salt and pepper and toss. 
In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat until just starting to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sage and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer, stirring, until evaporated. Scrape the shallot and garlic into the salad and toss. Season with salt and pepper and add in pomegranate seeds - mix well. This salad may be made a day or two ahead and served at room temperature. 
The wheat berries are chewy and the pomegranate seeds provide a nice bite with some tartness. This salad is delicious!
This Thanksgiving helped me realize how lucky Vance and I are to have found some really great friends in Nashville. Over the past few years, this place has become home and the Dunhams are certainly part of our Nashville Jill, make your Nashville sister another icebox pie!

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