Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Buckwheat with Mushrooms--Just To Start With

All my childhood, at least twice a month, I had buckwheat for dinner. I was lucky to like it but not everyone did although we all had to it. So if I wrote my blog in Polish, I would never talk about buckwheat. We all know too well how to serve it. But the other day, when I was buying my buckwheat at Whole Foods, a women who watched me filling the whole bag with it, asked "How do you eat that?" With pride and unhidden pleasure I gave her the whole lecture about many ways we prepare buckwheat in Poland.

We prepare all kind of dishes with buckwheat, except for soups where we use different types of kasha. First of all we just cook it and serve it with different toppings and sauces. It tastes great with a meat sauce, especially with a rich beef and porcini goulash, or with zrazy and a beet salad. Another possibility is it put some fried bacon on top. There are also some vegetarian versions: with a fried egg on top or with a simple mushroom sauce. Quite popular among vegetarians in my family were cabbage rolls, called golabki, filled with buckwheat instead of meat. I also  heard recently about a baked buckwheat dish with farmers' cheese, which I will be willing to try once and share my experience.

Buckwheat has a very distinct taste, but it is rather mild, so we always serve it with traditional salads that add some character to it. I like to eat it, for instance, with cabbage salads, especially sauerkraut, or just with cucumbers in brine.

Although it is still relatively unknown outside my part of the world, I see buckwheat's becoming popular on some blogs, like Tea and Cookies and 101 Cookbooks. It is a very healthy grain and could be a great vegetarian meal. Buckwheat is rich, amongh others, in omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B. It is also gluten free and can help lower cholesterol thanks to its high flavonoids content. For now, these simple suggestions are for those who never tried it and wonder how it can be eaten, but I am sure I will post soon some more complicated and vegetarian dishes featuring buckwheat.

Buckwheat with Mushrooms

How to cook buckwheat

1. Boil twice as much water as buckwheat, add a tbsp of salt.
2. Add buckwheat, and bring it to boiling. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, until all the water evaporates.

A Simple Mushroom Sauce

one 8 oz package of white mushrooms,
1 onion chopped,
1 cup cream table or heavy whipping cream,
1 tbsp soy sauce,
salt and pepper,
3 tbsp flat leaf parsley,
2 tbsp oil.

1. Heat the oil on a frying pan, add onion, and fry for about 3 minutes.
2. Wash mushroom and cut into slices. Add to the pan and fry until all the water evaporates and mushrooms turn gold.
3. Add cream to the mushrooms, soy sauce, pepper, and a little bit of salt (please remember that soy sauce is already salted). Mix all the ingredients and cook for about 3 minutes. If the sauce turns out too thick, you may add some water, especially if you use heavy whipping cream.
4. Pour the sauce over the hot buckwheat and serve with chopped parsley on top.

And also a version with a fried egg on top.

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