A staple of Russian cuisine, kasha (buckwheat groats) is a hearty and nutritious grain with an earthy, nutty flavor. It can be a breakfast cereal or savory side dish. Kasha sold at local Russian markets is in whole form. Wolff’s Kasha, on most supermarket shelves in the Jewish food section, comes fine, medium, coarse, and whole. Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern European origin typically make kasha mixed with sauteed mushrooms and sometimes bow-tie pasta, and serve it as a side dish with meats. For this contemporary take on the grain, embellished with carrots, celery, mushrooms, onions, and golden raisins, use whole kasha. Pomegranate seeds add a pop of color and a burst of sweet-tart juiciness.
|2||tablespoons vegetable oil|
|1||stalk celery, sliced on the diagonal ¼-inch thick|
|1||small onion, chopped|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|1||cup whole kasha|
|2||cups boiling water|
|¼||cup golden raisins|
|½||cup fresh pomegranate seeds|
|2||tablespoons chopped fresh parsley|
|2||scallions, trimmed and sliced|
1. In a large skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.
2. Add the oil to the skillet and when it is hot, add the celery, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in the carrots and cook 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Wipe out the skillet and heat it for 30 seconds. Add the kasha and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the boiling water and cook 1 minute. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the kasha is tender. Remove from the heat.
4. Stir in the raisins and cover the pan; let it sit for 5 minutes.
5. Transfer the kasha to a large bowl; set aside to cool to room temperature.
6. Stir in the mushroom mixture, pomegranate seeds, parsley, scallions, and almonds. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Debra Samuels