Chef’s Corner: “Rye-sotto” with Glazed Root Vegetables

“Rye-sotto” with Glazed Root Vegetables

Ingredients (for the “rye-sotto”):   

      1 yellow onion, peeled and diced

      4 cloves garlic minced

      4 tablespoons olive oil

      4 cups rye berries

      2 quarts vegetable stock

      Salt and pepper to taste

      3 ounces chevre


      This “rye-sotto” is obviously a play on words.  The technique used to make this dish is more like making a Pilaf than making a true risotto. Rye Berries will not release starch like Arborio or Carnaroli rice, and therefore the slow cooking while stirring constantly method is unnecessary here. I simply simmer the rye berries until tender and make it creamy by folding in the goat cheese.

1. Start to simmer the vegetable stock; meanwhile in a heavy-bottomed pot sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil on medium heat until soft and translucent. Add the rye berries and stir to coat with the oil and to toast slightly; you do not want any color on the onions or garlic.

2. Add the vegetable stock to the rye berries, cover with a tight fitting lid or with foil, and simmer until the berries are tender, about one hour. Season with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to use.

Glazed Root Vegetables


     1 pound of carrots, peeled and cut into obliques

      1 pound of parsnips, peeled and cut into obliques

      1 pound of baby turnips, peeled and cut into obliques

      1 pound of beets, peeled and diced (keep beets separate)

      water to cover vegetables

      2 tablespoons of sugar

      2 bay leaves

      10 peppercorns

      4 springs of fresh thyme

      ¼ teaspoon salt


     If the beets are red beets, you will want to keep them separate from the other vegetables; otherwise they will stain them red (I also recommend latex/vinyl gloves to keep your hands from staining as well!)

1. In a large sauté pan add the vegetables and other ingredients and cover all with water about ¼ inch above the vegetables and set on medium heat to begin a simmer (do the beets in a separate pan).

2. Keep a close eye on the vegetables, and when they are just tender remove them from the liquid. Strain the liquid to remove the bay leaves, thyme, and peppercorns. Return the liquid to the stove and reduce until the liquid is almost evaporated. Toss the root vegetables in the pan to “glaze” them. Keep warm until ready to use.

Red Wine Reduction


      1 shallot, minced

      2 cloves garlic, minced

      2 tablespoons olive oil

      4 bunches thyme

      1 bay leaf

      1 750ml bottle red wine (cabernet, merlot, syrah)

      2 tablespoons honey

      salt and pepper to taste


      You will want to use a good bottle of wine for this; a sub-par wine will be sub-par in the sauce.

1. In a small sauce pan, heat the olive oil on medium low and sauté the shallot and garlic lightly. Add the red wine and the herbs and adjust to a low simmer until reduced by about half.

2. Strain the reduction and return to the pot. Add the honey and continue to reduce to a sauce consistency. Season to taste, and taste often to ensure the correct level of reduction; the sauce should be flavorful without being harsh. The honey softens the wine without too much sweetness and gives a nice sheen and color to the final sauce.

To Finish:

      The timing of this dish depends on the rye berries; once they are cooking begin the vegetables and red wine reduction as they can simmer while the berries cook and the dish can be finished once the berries are done. Toss the goat cheese in with the rye berries at the last minute and taste for seasoning before serving.

      Place the “rye-sotto” in a line down the near-center of the plate, then spoon the root vegetables at an askew angle, and drizzle the red wine reduction across the top. Enjoy.