This warming vegetarian stew includes many of the symbolic foods of Tu b’Shvat, the holiday that celebrates the birth of trees and the fruit of the earth. It is also delicious made with farro, spelt, barley, or quinoa. Take advantage of all the available beautiful colors of carrots and beets. Red beets will tint the dish magenta. If this bothers you, add them to the stew just before you are ready to serve. For a vegan or pareve version, omit the crème fraiche or yogurt.
Makes 8-10 servings
4 cups (620 g) cooked wheat berries (from 2 cups/360 g raw; see page 18)
6 tablespoons (90 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 bunches beets with greens attached, 1½ pounds (680 g) total
1 bunch small turnips with greens attached, about 1 pound (450 g)
10 medium carrots, about 1 pound (450 g)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup (75 g) raisins
1 bay leaf
1 to 2 cups (240 to 480 ml) homemade vegetable stock (page 92), or 1 cup canned diluted with 1 cup water
1 to 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
FOR THE HORSERADISH CREAM
½ cup (100 g) crème fraîche or plain Greek yogurt
3 to 4 tablespoons (30 to 60 g) prepared horseradish
Cook the wheat berries, if necessary, while you prepare the vegetables. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Put 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of the olive oil in a small pot or microwavable dish. Stir in the cumin, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Place over low heat until the oil shimmers (about 30 seconds in a microwave). Remove from the heat and let stand.
Cut the leafy tops off the beets and turnips, leaving 1 inch (2.5 cm) of stem attached, and reserve the tops. Set the turnips aside. Scrub the beets well. If they are 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter or smaller, leave them whole. Cut larger beets into halves or quarters. Place the beets in a shallow baking pan. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of the oil mixture, toss to coat evenly, and turn any cut beets cut side down. Cover the pan with foil and roast until almost tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue roasting until tender and browned in places, about 10 minutes more. If using both red and yellow beets, roast each color in a separate pan to preserve their color.
Cut the turnips into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Cut the carrots crosswise into 2- to 3-inch (5- to 7.5-cm) pieces. If carrots are very fat, cut them in half lengthwise first. Cut each onion into 8 wedges. Place the turnips, carrots, and onions in a roughly single layer in a large shallow baking pan (or use 2 pans), drizzle with the remaining oil mixture, and toss to coat evenly. Roast uncovered until nicely browned, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.
TO MAKE THE HORSERADISH CREAM: In a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche and horseradish. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and stir well. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Cut away and discard the excess stems from the beet and turnip greens, then cut the greens crosswise into strips 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide.
In a wide pot large enough to hold all the ingredients, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, wait 30 seconds, and then add the greens and raisins.
Cook until the greens are wilted, 2 to 3 minutes (you may have to add the greens in batches). Add the wheat berries, all the roasted vegetables, the bay leaf, and 1 cup (240 ml) of the stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes, adding the remaining stock as needed to keep the mixture moist.
Stir in the vinegar to taste. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with a little of the horseradish cream.
Reprinted with permission from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen © 2015 by Amelia Saltsman, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Staci Valentine.