This is one of our chef's favorite side dishes that can easily be converted into a main course by adding more vegetables or some lean grilled chicken, shrimp, or salmon. It's a great way to use cracked wheat, but will also work with steel cut oats. It's creamy savory deliciousness.
Caramelized Onion, Cracked Wheat and Pea Risotto
with Sharp White Cheddar, Lemon, and Dill
Organic Grains Cracked Wheat| 1 cup
Low Sodium Vegetable Stock| 4 cups
Red Grape Juice or Red Wine| 2/3 cup red wine
Fresh Green Peas| 1 cup
Extra Virgin Olive Oil| 1 1/2 Tbsp.
Fresh Onion, chopped| 1 cup
Garlic, minced| 2 cloves
Cream Cheese, low-fat| 1/3 cup
Sharp White Cheddar| 1/3 cup
Fresh Dill, minced| 1 Tbsp. (or 1 1/2 tsp dry)
zest of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
- In a 12 inch deep pot or skillet, saute the onions in the olive oil until they caramelize. The longer they cook the sweeter and deeper the flavor. It will just be a preference thing but I like them medium brown. At this point add the garlic so the flavor mellows. If you add the garlic too soon, it will brown and get a bitter bite to it.
- De-glaze the pan with wine/juice and stir in all the flavor that was collected on the bottom of the pan.
- Now, all at once, add the organic cracked wheat.
- Add the 4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock (make sure it's low sodium folks or it will reduce and be really salty). Cook over a medium heat 15-20 minutes, stir occasionally. This is different form traditional risotto that has to be constantly stirred for a full 20-30 minutes while slowly adding the liquid. You love us right now right? After 20 minutes it will have thickened a little but not be too thick.
- While it cooks make sure your lemon and dill are ready.
- Add the peas, cream cheese, dill and lemon to the thickened oat mixture.
- Stir until the cream cheese has dissolved.
- Turn off the heat. Eat the cheese. Ok. Save the cheese for the sauce.
- The risotto-style cracked wheat will thicken a little more as they cool. Once the heat is off, stir in the cheese and let it melt. This will ensure that the final dish stays creamy instead of getting grainy-cheese. Serve this as a main dish with some crusty bread and some field greens drizzled with French dressing or alone. We think it's perfect with some grilled Salmon and hint of crispy bacon. Top each serving with some savory cheese and a sprinkle of fresh dill. It is delicious!