Sunday, March 23, 2008

Eastern European Easter Entree

I stayed home this Easter. Being too lazy to go out and too cheap to order in, I decided to make myself an Eastern European dish (at least my idea of it). This was what I came up with (sans the veggies, which I ran out of), which is basically kasha cooked with Polish kielbasa. Apologies for the above alliteration (and this one as well).

1 1/2 cups kasha (I used medium granulation)
2 eggs
2 cups water or broth
1 large kielbasa link (I used wiejska), sliced
1 onion, diced
1 cup diced carrots and celery
ground spices (I suggest caraway and paprika for that Eastern European flavour)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp butter

1. In a large saucepan (I actually used a wok), saute the kielbasa until its natural juices ooze out. Add the onion, carrots and celery; turn down heat so they just sweat instead of saute (add oil if needed). When veggies are cooked through, add water and bring to a boil.

2. While doing (1), beat eggs in a bowl, add kasha and mix, coating the kasha granules with a thin, barely discernible layer of egg. Microwave the kasha-egg mixture for two minutes on high, then use a fork to separate the granules. This step is needed to ensure that the kasha granules won't stick together when they're cooked. This also adds protein to the kasha, since buckwheat is gluten-free.

3. After doing (2), add kasha to (1), which should be boiling by now, and simmer until all the water has been absorbed and the kasha is cooked (it should have the texture of coarse couscous or fine brown rice). This should take no more than 10 minutes if you're using medium granulation. Add salt, pepper, and spices to taste.

Top with butter and serve. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro. Makes around four cups. This is a meal on its own, but you may also eat it with roast chicken or rissoles.

If kasha is hard to come by, you can replace it with whole wheat couscous or brown rice; just skip (2) and instead lightly brown in oil before adding to the water. You may also replace the kielbasa with Hungarian sausage. King Sue used to sell a version of Polish kabanosy (they spelled it "cabanossi", if I remember correctly), but I can't find them now.

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