Kasha and I have a strange relationship, as a kid, it made a weekly appearance at the school cafeteria, those were the days that I wished my mom would have made me a sandwich, I just couldn’t tolerate the taste. Fast forward a few years and my friend Nechama Bluemenrich, said that cooked right they were delicious. I approached the kasha dish at her table with trepidation, but she was right, it was delicious. And the secret wasn’t in the additions to the kasha but rather the method of preparation. Toasting the kasha transformed it into a nutty flavor bomb, and now I’m a total kasha advocate.
Buckwheat is actually not a wheat at all, it is a grass, think of it as being in the same halfway world as quinoa, it’s a superfood as well. Helps to lower blood sugar, gluten-free, and high in fiber. The Eastern European answer to health food perhaps?
Here we have paired the kasha with confit vegetables, to confit means to poach in oil, which is great as it amps up the taste of vegetables by introducing fat in the form of olive oil. If like me you had a kasha aversion, try this dish, it may just change your mind!
- 150g (about 10) young carrots (not baby carrots)
- 200g (about 3) baby parsnips, cut in half lengthwise if very thick
- 50g (about 8) whole cloves of garlic, peeled
- 200g (about 6) green onion bulbs (or baby onions, peeled)
- 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
- 100ml (5 ½ tablespoons) olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 150g (1 cup) kasha (buckwheat groats)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 415ml (1 ¾ cups) vegetable (or chicken) stock
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat oven to 160℃ (320℉). In a medium-sized casserole with deep sides place the carrots, parsnips, garlic, onion bulbs, thyme leaves and 100ml (5 ½ tablespoons) olive oil, sprinkle with salt, cover the dish and bake in the oven for 1 -1 ½ hours, until the vegetables are fork-tender. Once vegetables are cooked turn up the oven to 220℃ (450℉).
Heat a medium saucepan over high heat, add the olive oil and heat until shimmering, add the Kasha (buckwheat groats), and toast while string constantly until the kasha starts to darken and smell toasty 2-3 minutes, remove from heat.
Pour the toasted kasha over the confit vegetables, top the kasha and vegetables with the vegetable (or chicken) stock, cover the dish tightly and place back in the oven, cook for 20 minutes, until the kasha has absorbed all the liquid and some of the kasha looks like has burst open.
Season well with salt and pepper. Serve warm.