Monday, February 16, 2009

Southwestern Kamut Pilaf

**This is not a gluten-free recipe and was posted before I eliminated gluten from my diet. Brown rice would be a great substitute for Kamut in this pilaf.**

Southwest Kamut pilaf, adapted from The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I love wheat berries. I figured I would like their grain siblings, but hadn't yet tried them. But then last week The Perfect Pantry inspired me to experiment with Kamut. Kamut is an ancient wheat variety, and the berries are somewhat bigger and lighter than those of traditional wheat. I already had some in my pantry and easily found a wheat berry recipe that could be adapted for this adventure.

Southwestern Kamut Pilaf (adapted from "The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook")

1 cup Kamut, picked over and rinsed
2 Anaheim chiles, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small jicama, peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 medium onion, diced (use a red onion if you have it)
1/3 cup cilantro, minced
juice of 2 limes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 2/3 cups (or 15 oz. can) cooked black beans

Combine Kamut and 2 1/2 cups water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Drain and set aside. Put the chiles skin side up on a baking sheet and press down to flatten. Broil them for 8 min, or until blackened. Then put them in a paper bag and let sit for 10 min. Peel the chiles and dice. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serves 5.

The verdict? Kamut is possibly even better than wheat berries. It has more of a subtle flavor that almost hints on buttery. But, all in all, it's very similar. And this salad is great. I rarely use jicama, but love the crunch that it adds to things. If I were to make any changes, I would add another chile because it's a really good flavor that is a bit too subtle for me. Hmmm... I wonder how this would be with a tomato chopped up into it. And maybe some corn! Ok, so this could be tweaked a lot, but it's really good as is. This is going to make me look forward to lunch all week!

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