1/2 Photos of Savory Kucia - Wheat Berry Salad
1 hr 20 mins
One of the most important dishes for Kucios, the Lithuanian Christmas Eve supper, is "kucia", a mixture of wheat berries, ground poppy seeds and honey. I've never actually had this (wheat berries being scarce in California markets of 40 and 50 years ago), and since I prefer savory things, I decided to make a salad in the spirit of the traditional kucia, incorporating things that would have been available in a typical Central/Eastern European farmstead. OK, balsamic vinegar and olive oil are a bit of a stretch, but everything else would have been available at my grandparents' farms. If you've never had wheat berries, you'll discover a tasty grain. I have found that this tastes best if permitted to stand overnight, to permit the flavors to meld. Cooking time does not include soaking or standing times.
My Private Note
Units: US | Metric
- 1 cup wheat berries
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 large sweet-tart apple, cored and chopped
- 1/2 cup mixed dried berries or 1/2 cup dried cherries or 1/2 cup raisins or 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon poppy seed
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1Rinse and drain the wheat berries. Place them in a medium bowl, cover with water and soak overnight.
- 2Drain the wheat berries, place in a medium saucepan, add 3 cups water and cook until the berries are soft and the water is pretty much absorbed, about 1 hour. If the berries are tender, you can just drain any excess water. (I have been doing this in the rice cooker - it takes two cycles in my machine, but I don't have to worry about the pot boiling dry).
- 3Cover the chopped onion with hot water for two or three minutes, and drain. (This reduces a bit of the bite. Your onion may be sweet enough to skip this step).
- 4Place the cooked wheat in a large bowl and toss with the onion, apple, berries, poppy seeds and walnuts.
- 5Add some freshly grated black pepper.
- 6Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey and salt. Pour over the salad and toss to combine.
- 7Let stand at least four hours or so, preferably overnight, to permit the flavors to meld.
- 8Serve at room temperature.
- 9Note: The vinegar keeps the apple from discoloring, but you may prefer to add the apple just before serving. The heat and moisture of the cooked wheatberries will soften the dried berries, no need to presoak. If using dried cherries, you may want to cut them in half. I tend to use less salt than many, so you may want to adjust that to your own taste.
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Nutritional Facts for Savory Kucia - Wheat Berry Salad
Serving Size: 1 (81 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 4
- Amount Per Serving
- % Daily Value
- Calories 270.9
- Calories from Fat 211
- Total Fat 23.4 g
- Saturated Fat 2.8 g
- Cholesterol 0.0 mg
- Sodium 295.0 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 15.2 g
- Dietary Fiber 2.9 g
- Sugars 9.9 g
- Protein 2.8 g
The following items or measurements are not included:
mixed dried berries