Rye Berries Con Queso

Rye/Wheat Berries Con Queso

This is the kind of dish my daughter would call “hippie food”, and indeed, it is a favorite from the early 1970s. The original recipe called for rice, which is in short supply as a local food; this recipe substitutes rye berries or wheat berries for rice. (See article on VT grown rice.) This an excellent choice as a potluck dish!

Rye/Wheat Berries Con Queso
Recipe adapted from Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe, 1971

3 cups cooked local rye berries or wheat berries*
1 1/2 cups cooked black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 cloves local garlic, minced
1 large local onion, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbs. chili powder, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped green chilies (rinsed and drained if canned)
Salt and black pepper
1 cup local ricotta or cottage cheese (I used Maplebrook Ricotta Cheese from Bennington, VT)
2 cups shredded local cheddar cheese

1/2 cup additional shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Optional garnishes: sliced scallions, and/or chopped cilantro or parsley. (A variation is to spread salsa on top with the sprinkle of cheese before the second baking.)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350º. Heat oil in medium skillet; add onion and chilies and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook 2 minutes more. In a large bowl, combine rice, beans, and vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste. In a 2-quart casserole make alternating layers of the rye berry-bean combination, the ricotta or cottage cheese and the 2 cups cheddar cheese, ending with a layer of rye/wheat berries and beans. Cover and bake about 30 minutes. Remove cover, sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese and return to oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Garnish as desired before serving. Note: Chopped bell peppers may be substituted for chilies.

*Wheat and rye berries are available from Butterworks Farm at Upper Valley Food Coop

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