Tag Archives: gluten-free

Recipe: Bolivian Soup with Wheat Berries (Sopa de Trigo)

29 Jan

There are probably as many versions of this soup as there are Bolivian families, and all of them likely to be delicious, but this is the version that has evolved at our house over the years. I love the bright-red color that comes from the tomato and chili pastes; it brightens even the coldest, most dreary day. I also love the soup’s many layers of flavor, each one contributing to the overall symphony. It’s even better the next day, so it’s a great make-ahead dish. And it’s very adaptable: make a vegetarian version by eliminating the beef/lamb, adding more veggies, and using vegetable broth/bouillon. Or substitute quinoa for the wheat if gluten is an issue.

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Bolivian Soup with Wheat Berries (Sopa de Trigo)

Wheat/Hominy:
1/3-1/2 c. dry wheat berries/trigo pelado
1 can (14 0z./400 gr.) cooked hominy/mote blanco, undrained
–OR 1/2 c. dried cracked hominy (maiz blanco trillado)–see photo below

½ c. freeze-dried potato/black chuño (optional)

Soup broth:
12 c./3 liters beef broth
1 lb./500 gr. meaty, bone-in beef or lamb
1 large onion, halved
1 large tomato, quartered
2 carrots, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
beef bouillon cubes (optional)

Soup Vegetables:
3/4 c. petite peas
2 large carrots, julienned
3 large potatoes, julienned (it’s traditional to julienne both the carrots and the potatoes, but I have been know to dice both instead…)

Sofrito:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lg. onion, finely diced
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1-2 tbsp. red aji (chili) paste (aji colorado/aji panca)–see photo below
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried oregano
coarsely ground black pepper, to taste

Toppings:
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 tsbp. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp. finely chopped  fresh mint

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Dried cracked hominy

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Red aji (chili) paste

Preparation:

  1. Note: If using  the optional freeze-dried potato/chuño, soak it in warm water overnight prior to making the soup. Before adding it to the soup in step #5, drain it and squeeze as much water out as possible. If necessary, chop into small pieces.
  2. Place the wheat berries (and, if using, the dried hominy) in a medium saucepan, cover with several inches of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 60-90 minutes or until both wheat and hominy are soft. Drain and set aside. If using canned hominy, pre-cook only the wheat, and add the undrained canned hominy to the soup in step #5.
  3. Meanwhile, add the broth and meat/bones to a large pot and bring to a low simmer, skimming periodically until no more foam is produced. Add the halved onion, quartered tomato, halved carrots, and the bay leaves and continue simmering slowly until the vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes. Check the seasonings and add beef bouillon cubes to taste, if needed.
  4. Remove the beef/lamb to a dish and let cool. Strain the broth through a fine-meshed sieve into a large bowl, mashing the tomato pieces to extract any remaining liquid. Return the broth to the pot and discard the vegetables.
  5. Shred the meat, discarding the bones and any fat, and add the shredded meat to the pot along with 1 c. of the cooked wheat, the hominy, the freeze-dried potato/chuño (if using), and the peas, carrots, and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the sofrito: Heat the olive oil  in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, and cook until soft and slightly golden. Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, to make a fragrant paste. Add the paste to the soup pot, stir to mix, and continue simmering the soup, covered, for 15 minutes or more to develop the flavors and ensure all vegetables are soft. If the soup seems too thick, add more water. If it needs more salt, add another bouillon cube.
  7. Serve with the sliced green onions and herbs sprinkled on top, and with plenty of crusty bread.

Recipe: Brownie Bites

6 Jul

Here is another way to have your cake and eat it, too. These brownie bites, adapted from what was originally an allrecipes.com cake recipe, have a secret ingredient that no one will ever notice: chickpeas.  In addition to being gluten-free, these are practically guilt-free, too, because they are full of protein. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. But I’m not alone in believing these are good for you; at a recent brunch, these flew off the plate. A handy little dessert to have in any cooking repertoire.

Brownie Bites
Makes about 30

12-oz bag chocolate chips (the darker the better)
2 tbsp. canola oil
2 c. cooked chickpeas/garbanzos (canned are fine; make sure to drain)
4 eggs (can substitute 4 egg whites for 2 of the eggs)
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
2. Combine chocolate chips and oil in a microwave-proof bowl, and microwave for one minute; stir until smooth. If any lumps remain, microwave a tiny bit longer and stir again. Set aside.
3. Put chickpeas and eggs in a blender and blend until very smooth, scraping down sides of blender as needed. [Note: If you are feeling adventurous and have the time, pop the “skins” off the chickpeas before blending for a smoother finish.] Add sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon, and blend again. Pour in chocolate mixture and blend until well combined. Pour batter straight from blender into prepared muffin tins, using a spoon to help fill each cup almost to the top.
4. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick (or knife or fork) comes out clean. Let cool in the tins for a few minutes, then place brownie bites into a container that has a lid. Cover the container after about 15 minutes to keep the bites moist. Before serving, dust with confectioner’s sugar.