Monday, November 5, 2012


This weeks host of the The Food Matters Project was Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. Camilla chose Mark Bittman's recipe for Wheat Berries with Braised Beef and Parsnips. That recipe inspired me to make a lovely Lamb Stew with Wheat Berries in Red Wine Sauce. This stew had layers of flavor. It was my first time cooking with wheat berries and I loved the texture they added to the stew. I served it with a dollop of garlic yogurt. The garlic was a bit strong (I loved it) but I think a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream would be good too.
For our other members take on this recipe click here.


Wheat berries:
2 cups water
1 cup wheat berries

Garlic Yogurt:
1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
fine sea salt


1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/4 lb. lamb cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 lb. carrots, cut 1/4 inch thick (about 3 cups)
3/4 cups dark raisins
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

To prepare wheat berries, bring the water and the wheat berries to a boil in a medium pan. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the wheat berries are tender with a slight chew, about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside to steam for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid (about 1/2 cup)

Meanwhile, prepare the garlic yogurt. Beat the yogurt in a small bowl with a fork until smooth. Stir in the garlic and season with sea salt. Chill covered until ready to serve.
To make the stew, place the tomatoes with their juices, wine, vinegar and paprika in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, gently crush the tomatoes and combine the mixture.

Pat the lamb dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pan over medium heat until shimmering. Working in 2 or 3 batches, cook the lamb until browned on all sides, adding a bit more oil if the pan goes dry, about 5 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a plate. Decrease the heat to medium; add the onion, garlic, cinnamon, bay leaf and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onion softens, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the tomato mixture (it may splatter), the meat with its accumulated juices, the carrots, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, scraping the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Add the raisins, the wheat berries, and if needed, enough of the reserved cooking liquid to just cover the vegetables (the tips of the carrots will show). Return to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the lamb is fork-tender, about 40 minutes. Add more cooking liquid or water to thin, if you like.

To finish, season with the brown sugar and pepper, as well as a dash more balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve with the garlic yogurt.

Recipe from


Angry Asian said...

i loooove lamb, and this looks just so perfect for a cold autumn night.

Lexi said...

Thanks Lan! Uh, cold autumn night???? We are having record heat out here in So. Calif. It was 90 degrees today! My butcher teased me yesterday when I said I was making stew!!

Erin @ The Goodness Life said...

Haha, too funny that you're cooking an Autumn stew in that heat! I love what you did with it though, it looks delicious... making my mouth water! I too love lamb :)

Camilla Mann said...

It has been hot here, too - central California. But I loved the stew. I will try lamb next time!

Meg @ said...

Looks so tasty - I've never made wheat berries before and want to try it soon.

I can't believe it was 90 degrees this week in California! Remind me again why I live on the East Coast?