Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Storecupboard eats: spelt with beans and broccoli

We've been eating out of the pantry and freezer quite a bit this week after a week eating out on holiday. I got the idea for this grain and bean dish from Wholegrain Diet Miracle but I made up my own version so feel I can call it my creation :)

Spelt is one of my new forays into grains, and I've now tracked down some dried spelt as well as the tinned sort I used in a salad a few weeks ago. It takes quite a while to cook (an hour plus) so it's not a quick as a flash dinner, but there's hardly any hands-on time, especially the way I did the beans - ie open can, add seasonings, heat. I know, I should be ashamed of myself but I think I can live with it. I like spelt because it's nice and chewy - I think it's quite like barley, but as the barley-hating Scientist says 'without the slimyness' and I can see where he's coming from. I'm just delighted I can put another grain on our joint menu.

I was actually almost as proud of the accompanying broccoli as I was of the spelt dish as I experimented with some different flavours than usual. I cut the broccoli into quite thick slices rather than florets, and then sort of braised them I suppose, in some stock with some finely sliced garlic and some chilli powder. The thick slices made a nice change from florets, and the extra flavours were subtle but definitely present. Another small dent made in the storecupboard box of dried goodies!

Spelt and beans
110g dried spelt, washed
half an onion, chopped
1 tin of kidney beans in chilli sauce
1 bay leaf
cayenne pepper and chilli powder, to taste

Put the spelt in a pan and cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer until done (it will still be chewy). This takes an hour to an hour and a half

Near the end of the cooking time fry the onion in a little oil. When it's soft add the beans and sauce, the bay leaf and the spices. Warm through and taste to adjust the flavours. Serve beans on spelt

Broccoli with garlic and chilli
One small head broccoli, sliced into thick slices
one garlic clove, finely chopped
chilli powder, to taste, or chopped fresh chilli

Place all the ingredients in a casserole dish or pan, and add a little stock. I added too much and it got a bit swimmy - I think just to cover the base of the dish would be good, especially if you want to keep it crunchy. Simmer until broccoli is done.

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