Carpathian Kasha with Browned Onions and Walnuts

Buckwheat kasha

Carpathian kasha – Vinny made this nutty gluten-free side dish for an Eastern European themed dinner party, with a shout out to Dracula.

My husband, whose grandparents came to Canada from the Carpathian Mountains in what is now the Ukraine, has wanted to serve some Eastern European dishes to our guests for some time. Last Christmas we received a bottle of wine from Romania, an Eastern European country that contains the infamous Transylvania at its heart… the home of Dracula. These two forces came together to prompt us to put on a Dracula-themed dinner for our annual dinner club.

In the Carpathians, buckwheat (the flower buds from the buckwheat plant) is often boiled in water or milk to make a thick gruel called kasha.

We settled on a more upscale version of kasha, roasting the  buckwheat kernels first for a side dish studded with butter-toasted walnuts and browned onion. Unusually, this kasha recipe features an egg. The result was very good.

Carpathian Kasha
Makes 8 sides

  • 1 cup buckwheat
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups boiling-hot water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup walnuts (3 oz), coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

 

 

  1. Stir together the buckwheat kernals and egg until coated well, then cook in a dry 3 1/2- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until grains smell toasty and begin to separate, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add boiling-hot water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and simmer, covered, over low heat until the kernals are barely tender and most of the water is absorbed, about 12 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 10 minutes.
  4. While the buckwheat cooks, toast the walnuts in 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, 5 minutes. Transfer nuts to a plate.
  5. Add oil and remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to the skillet and heat over moderate heat until foam subsides. Add onion and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, about 15 minutes.
  6. Stir prepared buckwheat into onion along with the toasted walnuts, parsley, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Nutritional value

Buckwheat is not a cereal. It is, amazingly, a flower bud. So it is gluten free and an excellent source of carbs and fiber for celiacs.

Many people consider buckwheat to be a superfood. Among its health benefits, it may improve heart health, promote weight loss, and help manage diabetes.

Buckwheat is a good source of protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins and other valuable nutrients found in plants. Besides preparing it as a side to substitute for rice or noodles, you can add it to soups or mix some cooked buckwheat into salads or scrambled eggs.

Buckwheat kasha

Buckwheat is a food worth experimenting with and using often. Try it once and you may be hooked for life. Mwahahaha!!!

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