20 February 2012

Recipe box: Chili Con Wheat Berries, food storage style

This "chili" is adapted from a great book that I recently found in a bargain bin: The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook. As with Anita's Shelf Soup last week, this recipe uses a number of dehydrated products from Shelf Reliance. We've linked to those ingredients so that you can explore them if you're unfamiliar with them. We've recently begun using their Thrive brand of dehydrated foods, and have loved each product we've tried. (In case you're wondering, we don't profit by posting these... we just like Shelf Reliance!)

Ingredients (serves 8)

1 lb. (2-1/2 cups) Wheat berries
1-1/2 cups Beef TVP, dry
1/2 cup Bell Peppers, red and green, dehydrated
2/3 cup Onions, chopped, dehydrated
2-1/2 qt. (about 80 fl.oz.) Water
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
4 Celery Stalks, diced
2 cups Beef Broth
29 oz. (2 cans) Tomatoes, diced
15 oz. (1 can) Kidney Beans
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tbs. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Caraway Seeds
1/2 tsp. Cracked Black Peppercorn
1/2 tsp. Salt

  1. Put 6 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. While water is heating, rinse wheat berries in cold running water, then drain.
  3. After the water is boiling, place the wheat berries in the pot and bring the water back to a boil.
  4. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer the wheat berries for 50-60 minutes. You can tell when they're ready when the berries are softened, but still chewy.
  5. Remove the pot from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
  6. Drain the water and add the wheat berries to the recipe as noted below.
  7. In a large bowl, put beef TVP, dried onion, and dried bell peppers, and then add  3-1/2 cups of hot water.
  8. Let  beef TVP, onion, and bell peppers soak for 10-15 minutes, then drain.
  9. In a large pot or Dutch oven, add olive oil, garlic, and celery. Cook over medium-high heat until garlic and celery soften (about 4-8 minutes).
  10. Add  beef TVP, onion, bell peppers, wheat berries, and remaining ingredients. Mix together thoroughly.
  11. Bring chili to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low.
  12. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, until flavors blend.
  13. Remove from heat and serve.

You might try switching the broth to chicken broth and the TVP to chicken TVP.

Freeze-dried celery is also available (but we haven't tried it yet). To replace the fresh celery called for above, you'd add a cup of dry celery and 4 cups of hot water in step 7 above.

You can also substitute whole, hulled barley for half, or all, of the wheat berries. Cook barley using the same process as the wheat berries.

For those who prefer a bit more zing, add a Jalapeno pepper or two (seeded and diced). If Jalepenos aren't available, you can add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper.

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