In my quest for new flavors I stumbled upon chef Michelle McKenzie. This woman can cook and inspire the daylights out of you to do the same. What Michelle does in her original recipe is create something of a warm salad. In adapting it, I turned it into a stew using what I had to work with: meat taken off short ribs and some fine beef bone stock. The short ribs were from a grass-fed, free-range beef we had purchased. Short-ribs are usually one of the last packages left from the original purchase. At least, that has been the case in this family for the last fifty years. I cooked the short ribs in the slow cooker for eight hours, removed the meat from the bones and let the bones continue for several more batches of bone broth making.
The stew, inspired by Michelle’s recipe, left us drooling for more. Toasted caraway seeds provide just the right amount of intrigue and the rye berries contributed a fine flavor and texture. This dish keeps well for leftovers. In fact, the flavor may improve a bit on sitting. Just be sure to use fresh parsley to get the bright green accent and the fresh flavor burst on the re-runs.
Rye Berry Stew Ingredients
- 1 cup rye berries
- 3 cups vegetable stock or bone broth
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon caraway seed
- 2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 4 cloves finely minced garlic
- 1 small head cabbage, finely sliced
- 2 cups of meat taken from cooked short ribs, at room temperature or warmer
- 1/4 cup finely minced parsley
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Rye Berry Stew Steps
- The night before: toast the rye berries in a dry skillet for about five minutes until they have darkened and are fragrant. Rinse them in a wire strainer and cover to soak overnight in the refrigerator.
- The next day: Drain the rye berries and then add the stock or broth to the rye berries and bring them to a boil. Add about a teaspoon of salt. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes. You want those rye berries tender, so keep testing them until you are satisfied.
- When the rye berries meet your requirements for chew-ability, add the vinegar, mustard and honey. Stir well.
- In a dry skillet toast the caraway seed for about two minutes, until fragrant. Pour out into a cup, set aside.
- Pour the olive oil into the same skillet. When it begins to shimmer, add the garlic. Saute for a minute and add the onion. Stir every couple of minutes until the onion is soft.
- Add the cabbage with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and toss well. You want the cabbage pieces completely coated with the oil in the pan. Cook for five to six minutes until the cabbage is tender.
- Stir in the beef from the the short ribs and the caraway seed. Heat for about two minutes.
- Add the rye berries mix and a bit more bone broth, depending on how soupy you are wanting this dish to be. Bring it to a simmer.
- Test for salt and pepper, adjust as needed.
- Serve in soup bowls with a garnish of finely minced parsley, along side a slice of very hot sourdough bread that is dripping with butter. Oh my!
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