Resolution Recipe: Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad

Brooke Parkhurst and Jamie Briscione
Entertainment Columnists
Friday, Jan 20,2012

We said it best on our website,

In the New Year, we resolve to do big and bold things that will change our faces, our fannies and our future.

But being virtuous with our diets in the New Year gets confusing. Everyone’s pushing a weight-loss program (‘Dukan Diet,’ ‘Kind Diet,’ ‘Eat This Not That! diet) and we forget what is simple and best. We forget what our mammas taught us in the kitchen.
In the aftermath of our deep-fried, Dixie holiday—filled with cheese balls and oyster po’boys and golden butter cookies—we’re getting back to basics. We’re also borrowing from Brooke’s mom’s iced tea-stained collection of recipe cards.
Waldorf Salad. Wheat berry Waldorf Salad. Wait, what’s a wheat berry?!
In the interest of our waistlines, Jamie re-thought—and then amped up-- Mom’s Waldorf Salad to include rosemary-roasted chicken, spiced pecans and wheat berries.
The reddish brown wheat kernels taste a little nutty and they’re destined to be the healthiest thing in your refrigerator. All of the good stuff that manufacturers remove from white bread is here—fiber, protein, folic acid, B-complex and Vitamin E. From the wheat field to your kitchen, the only thing that has been removed is the hull; the bran, germ and endosperm (insert joke here) are still in tact.
Why wouldn’t you give our Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad a whirl? It’s our Resolution Recipe that makes delicious sense any time of year.
Resolution Recipe: Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad

All the separately prepared parts of this recipe are the key to its unbelievable tastiness. Don't be intimidated by what looks like a long, complicated recipe-- each component is super simple and a snap to prepare. It's not a lot to ask for something that tastes so good and so good for you!

For the chicken

1 small yellow onion, cut in half
4 cloves garlic
1 branch fresh rosemary
6 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 bone-in chicken breasts

Wheat Berries
4 cups chicken cooking liquid (either chicken stock or water)
1 cup wheat berries

1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
2/3 cup pecan halves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 sugar
pinch cayenne

2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup grapes (red or green), cut in half

For the chicken: Combine the onion, garlic, rosemary, water and salt in a medium sauce pot. Pat the chicken breast dry with paper towels, sprinkle with salt and pepper (both sides) and add to the pot. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Be careful that the chicken does not boil too rapidly or will become dry and a little tough. When the chicken is finished cooking, remove it from the water and place on a plate to cool. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve 4 cups for cooking the wheat berries. When cooled, remove the skin and bones from the chicken and chop. The chicken should yield 2-3 cups.

For the wheat berries: Place one cup dried wheat berries in the empty sauce pot and add the four cups of reserved liquid from the chicken. Bring the pot a boil over high, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook at simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 40 minutes, remove from the heat and let stand covered, 10 minutes, before straining any of the remaining liquid.

For the pecans: Place a small saute pan over low heat. Add the butter, garlic and rosemary. When the garlic begins to sizzle, stir in the pecans. Cook the pecans about 5 minutes, stirring often, or until they begin to darken slightly. Stir in the salt, sugar and cayenne and set aside to cool.

To assemble the salad: Whisk together the mustard and vinegar in a medium mixing bowl. Continue whisking and slowly pour in the olive oil until it is all combined. Add the grapes, pecans, wheat berries, chicken and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix well to combine and serve on a bed of lightly dressed fresh greens.