Thursday, 31 March 2011

Buckwheat Pilaf

Buckwheat makes a nice local alternative to rice as a side dish, but it's softer in texture and stronger in flavour. I like it's intense nutty-woody flavour although Mr. Ferdzy says "cardboard". I can see it, but I say it's good cardboard. Gourmet cardboard, even.

This is a pretty simple, here-it-is dish designed to provide a back-up to other main dishes and also not to take to much time or trouble to make. It went very nicely with the Bison Meatloaf and cabbage.

The instructions to toast the grain then add it to boiling stock are to keep it from turning to mush, so be sure to do those steps and also let it rest once it is done. It really is easiest to do it in a rice cooker.

4 servings
45 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

1 cup whole raw buckwheat kernels
2 stalks celery
3 or 4 shallots
1 large carrot
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
2 cups good chicken or other stock
salt & pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the dry buckwheat, and toast it, stirring frequently, until it is reasonably well toasted throughout. It will darken, and smell toasted. Set it aside on a plate to cool.

Wash, trim and chop the celery. Peel and chop the shallots. Peel and grate the carrot. Put the oil in the skillet, and cook the vegetables until soft but not browned.

Meanwhile, put the stock into the rice cooker (or a large pot) and turn it on; it should come to a good boil. Add the vegetables once they are ready.

When the stock is boiling with the vegetables, add the toasted buckwheat. Reduce the heat to a simmer (or let the rice-cooker do its thing) and cover. Cook until the rice-cooker turns itself off, or until the stock is absorbed and the buckwheat is tender; in either case, approximately 15 minutes. Stir gently to fluff it up a bit, then let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Last year at this time I made Braised Endive.

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