In this recipe for Tuscan White bean Stew with Kale, an optional ancient grain, sorghum adds an unexpected heartiness. But if you can’t find it don’t worry, it’s good without it or simple substitute quinoa! Sorghum, if unfamiliar, is an ancient grain originating from Northern Africa- tiny and round, similar in size and shape of Israeli cous cous- with the added benefit of being totally gluten free. You can either use dry cannelloni beans in which case the Sorghum and cannelleli beans are soaked overnight in order to decrease cooking time, or simple used canned beans, for even faster preparation.
In a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven – onion, fennel bulb, celery and carrots are sauteed until tender. Then go in the cannellini beans, sorghum ( or quinoa) and flavorful stock. Let this simmer then add a couple handfuls of chopped kale. Dinner is ready!
This time of year, when locally grown produce is particularly sparse, ancient grains can help us bridge the gap between seasons. Ancient grains, in simple terms, are basically grains that have not been messed with or altered. Whole, intact, organic and genetically unmodified grains that are the same today, as they were thousands of years ago. Thought to be higher in nutrients that modern day wheat, some ancient grains ( like quinoa, teff and amaranth) are very high in protein and some are gluten free. With the increasing number of consumers who are gluten intolerant, this is really good news.
By now, most of us are familiar with quinoa, probably the most popular “ancient grain” to hit local supermarkets and restaurants in the last decade, but other grains are also emerging into the limelight that can add healthy diversity to what we eat, including – kamut, teff, sorghum, amaranth, barley, farro, millet, spelt, rye, eikorn, emmer, winter wheat, spring wheat and wild rice.Sorghum, one of my favorite ancient grains, originates from Africa. It’s name “sorghum” comes from the Italian word “sorgo”, in turn from Latin “Syricum (granum)” meaning “Grain of Syria”.Recently we have seen sorghum’s popularity on the rise here, thanks to the gluten-free benefits it offers. But being gluten-free isn’t sorghum’s only bragging right. According to a new study from the University of Georgia, some varieties of sorghum have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that compare and even exceed other well know super foods, like blueberries and pomegranates.
And unlike other gluten free grains, its hearty, chewy texture of sorghum is very similar to wheat berries, making it an ideal candidate in pilafs, salads and soups –because holds its shape when cooked.
Sorghum, is sold and packaged by Bob’s Red Mill, and can be found at most grocery stores.
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Tuscan White Bean Stew
Tuscan Cannellini Bean Stew and Fennel Stew
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 90 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 50 mins
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: italian Bean Soup
- Cuisine: Vegan
- 1 Cup dry Cannellini beans- Soaked overnight ( or use 2 cans, drained cannelloni beans)
- 1 Cup dry Sorghum – Soaked overnight ( optional, leave out, or sub quinoa during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Cup diced onion
- 3 cloves chopped garlic
- 1 1/2 Cups diced fennel bulb
- 1 Cup diced carrot
- 1 1/2 Cups sliced celery
- 1 Cup diced tomato
- 6 Cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp herbs de provence
- 1–2 Cups chopped kale
- salt and pepper to taste
- Soak dry beans and sorghum in separate containers of water overnight. .
- Heat oil over medium high heat in a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven. Add onion and saute for two minutes, stirring often. Turn heat to medium and add garlic, fennel, carrots, celery, and saute for 7-8 minutes. Add tomato, stock, herbs,drained beans and drained sorghum. Bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to medium low, and simmer until beans are tender about 1 1/4-1 1/2hours.
- Add kale. Simmer until wilted and tender.
- Season with salt and pepper. Serve in Bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil ( optional)or add crunch croutons.
- Notes: If using canned beans, simply add the drained, canned beans to the simmering stock until heated, about 10 minutes.To thicken, you could simple let this reduce a bit, or add quinoa. Making it this way will shorten the cooking time to 30 minutes.