Rye is the mysterious dark horseman of the grain world. Like wheat berries, rye berries are a bit of a pain to cook: you need to soak them overnight, but they are worth it: rich and nutty and so healthy. Rye is super-high in fibre and low in gluten, so it is a good friend to the perennial dieter.
Useless grain facts: Rye was not always valued as a foodstuff – in fact, Pliny reckoned that it was a ‘very poor food and only serves to avert starvation’. And one’s normally carb-loving beau has actually spat it out on the few occasions I have tried to feed him rye bread. However, it became highly prized in Scandinavia and northeastern Europe as it is extremely hardy and thrives in poor soil.
Cook the rye in its soaking water: keep an eye on the liquid levels and top up with cold water if necessary. The berries should take around an hour to cook: you want them done but still with some bite to them. Refresh under cold water and leave to drain.
While the rye is cooking, set the currants to soak in the Southern Comfort. Next,
Spread the sweet potato, carrots and onion out on an oven tray, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with the caraway seeds and seasoning, and
When you are ready to serve, drain the currants, retaining the liquor. Whisk the olive oil with the fruit juices and the remaining Southern Comfort, and season to taste. Place the grain and oven-roasted veg in a bowl, then stir in the currants, pumpkin seed kernels and rocket. Drizzle with the boozy dressing and enjoy.
* In this case, just add 3 tablespoons plain yogurt or lemon juice to the water and stir. You could substitute the more readily available wheat berries – these also respond well to soaking in acidulated water.
** Don’t want to use alcohol? Just use water to soak the raisins, and add 1½ tablespoons apple vinegar to the dressing instead.
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