Combine beans and spelt berries in a medium pan. To wash, fill pan with water, swish beans and grains around with your hands, let them settle then pour off the water. Repeat and drain.
Cover with at least 960 ml (32 fl oz/4 cups) filtered water and soak 12 to 24 hours.
Drain and rinse, return to pan and add the filtered water, bay leaves, kombu, sage and reserved herb stems.
Bring to the boil over high heat; skim off any foam that rises to top with a small sieve or slotted spoon. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 to 1½ hours or until beans are soft and creamy and spelt berries are plump.
Remove and compost kombu, bay leaves and herbs. Drain, reserving cooking liquid and set aside.
Preheat oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and add squash, turnips, carrots and Jerusalem artichokes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the salt and a pinch of black pepper. Toss well, spread out in a single layer and roast for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, stir gently and return to oven for another 15 to 20 minutes or until browning and cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.
Warm remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium to large pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until golden.
Stir in garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
Add thyme, rosemary, sage, celery, leek and remaining ½ teaspoon salt; cook for 2 more minutes.
Cover pan, reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes or until celery is tender.
Add cooked beans and spelt berries, 600 ml (20 fl oz/2½ cups) reserved cooking liquid and roasted vegetables. Bring up to a simmer and cook uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes to allow flavours to meld.
Add more bean cooking liquid to get the desired consistency. Stir in vinegar, tamari and kale; cook for 2 more minutes or until kale is tender. Season to taste and serve warm.
Roasting the vegetables before simmering them in the stew adds richness, texture and a deeply sweet flavour. Soaking and cooking the beans and spelt berries together creates a full-bodied base for the stew, and adding the rosemary and thyme stems infuses them with even more flavour.
As with all the recipes, I leave the skin on all the vegetables for this stew. Peel the squash if the skin is rough or particularly hard.
To cook beans and spelt berries in a pressure cooker, reduce water to 1.1 litres (2 pints/4½ cups) and bring to the boil over high heat; skim off any foam that rises to the top. Lock lid in place and bring up to high pressure, then reduce heat to low and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to release naturally. Remove lid and proceed with the recipe.
Recipe & images reproduced with permission from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin, photography by Johnny Miller. Published by Jacqui Small.
Mum of three, daydream adventurer, OU Life Sciences graduate, occasional crafter, ex-pat Canadian & quite possibly Britain's most northerly food blogger.