Wheat berries (basically wheat in its most elemental state) are great, they're sorta crunchy and chewy at the same time and they have a wonderfully nutty intoxication to their flavour. They are also super easy to prepare. And by easy, I mean put a pot of water on the stove to boil, add wheat berries, lower heat to medium, simmer for an hour, drain. Quinoa and couscous and various rices can be difficult to cook because of the ratio of grain to water. What works for someone perfectly seems to invariably fail for someone else. I cook grains by trial and error which means the wild, mixed and black rices I cook, I actually use much less water than prescribed, and I cook it at a much higher heat. It gets the job done to the likeness of how I enjoy my grains, still a wee bit al dente, and not hours later.
Once the wheat berries are cooked, it's really just a matter of tossing them with some dried cranberries (or dried cherries), a handful of chopped walnuts (or pecans) and then folding in a ton of freshly chopped parsley. The dressing is lemon based which gives the whole comfort appeal of the dish a bit of oomph.
A singularly complex and nutritionally perfect work day lunch.
1 1/2 cups hard wheat berries
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries, chopped
1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot combine the wheat berries and enough water to come 2 inches over the wheat berries. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 1 hour, or until tender. Drain and let cool. Toast the walnuts in a medium dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. (Toasting gives an aromatic edge to nuts that have lost some of their freshness by sitting around in packaging too long; if your nuts are fresh, you can totally boycott the toasting step.)
In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, walnuts, dried cranberres/cherries, scallions, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice. Season, to taste, with sea salt and pepper.