Friday, December 9, 2011

Buckwheat Pilaf with Pecans

Buckwheat, also known as kasha, is inaptly named - this grain is not wheat at all and is gluten-free, and thus perfectly suitable for those with wheat or gluten allergies.  The groats are also high in fiber, and a fun alternative to rice as a side dish. This dish makes a nice substitute for rice pilaf.

  • 1 and 3/4 cups vegan chicken broth (prepared from Not Chick'n bouillon)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked kasha (buckwheat)
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 cups hot cooked brown basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1. Heat the broth to a simmer in a large saucepan (but do not boil).  Once simmering, keep warm over low heat.    

2. Meanwhile, stir together the kasha and Ener-G eggs in a bowl.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the kasha mixture and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Add the kasha mixture to the warm broth, along with 1 tablespoon butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is all absorbed.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Note: I wondered if there was an error in the recipe instructions, at this stage of preparation.  Kasha usually cooks in twice its volume of liquid, so you'd expect to need 3 cups liquid for the 1 and 1/2 cups called for.  Sure enough, the kasha absorbed all of the broth within moments - forget about bringing to a boil and simmering.  And yet it was still perfectly tender and cooked.  My advice, therefore, is to keep an eye on things during this step, in case the same thing happens to you, but you may need to simmer longer for the liquid to absorb.

4. Meanwhile, melt the remaining tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the carrots and pecans; cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the mushrooms and green onions; cook for a final 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Combine the kasha mixture, carrot mixture, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, brown rice, parsley, thyme, and black pepper in a large bowl. Try serving alongside either Gardein chicken or Match pork.

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (1 cup), Calories 234

Tasting Notes:
Beautiful nutty flavor, both from the kasha itself and enhanced by the occasional crunch of pecan.  The dish was a wonderful blend of flavors - salty, nutty, sharp green onions, creamy rice.  My quibbles with the recipe are due to the errors in recipe instructions (as noted above), leading to some confusion.  I would also use more mushrooms next time and chop them fine instead of slicing.  But a sure winner taste-wise.


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