In my effort to eat healthier, mostly to lose some weight and for heart healthiness, I try new grains. So a while back I picked up a box of buckwheat. I’ve added quinoa to my repertoire of cooking and some barley and bulgur. Oats and cornmeal have always been in my pantry. Rice, too, but now it is always brown rice and not white. Being a novice at using buckwheat I merely follow the recipe on the back of the box. One can cook up a pilaf or cook it up as a hot cereal. I go for the pilaf.
As I am reading the box I read that this is wheat and gluten free. How can it be wheat free if it is called buckwheat? What is this stuff? The internet is a wealth of information for us traditional cooks. Buckwheat is a type of seed called a pseudocereal; another of these pseudocereals is quinoa. These are seeds that are eaten like cereal grains, hence the name. This buckwheat was processed into groats: “100% pure roasted whole grain buckwheat”. Buckwheat is not related to wheat so it is gluten free. Who knew?!
This pilaf recipe instructs that 1/2 cup each chopped onion and sliced mushrooms or other chopped sauteed vegetables can be added to the buckwheat when the liquid is added to the cooking process. Well, I select onion, celery, and other vegetables to add. I like to add more vegetables than a recipe generally calls for because it makes me feel like I’m eating healthier.
- 2 stalks celery
- 1/2 medium onion
- 2 smallish carrots
- 1/2 green pepper
- 1/2 red pepper
- 2 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup buckwheat cooked according to package directions: this uses 2 cups broth or water, 1 egg, salt and pepper, and 2 tablespoons butter
The preparing of the buckwheat itself is not a one dish deal! First an egg is slightly beaten in a separate bowl, the buckwheat is added, and stirred about for the groats to get coated. This then is put in a skillet at medium to high heat and stirred constantly for 2-3 minutes so the egg dries on the buckwheat. You will smell this roasting but keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. Meanwhile bring the liquid (I used 1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup water) and the pinch of salt and pepper to a boil. The butter will be used to saute the vegetables which is also on the stove at the same time! I kept changing the pots around so the final cooking would be in the big enough skillet with a lid. Ay yi yi!
Add this all together, stir, cover with a lid,and simmer for 7-10 minutes. This took only 7 minutes for me. I threw in about a tablespoon of red pepper flakes with the water because I thought it might need a bit of spice and red pepper flakes are my secret ingredient for most vegetable dishes.
And I serve this with grilled chicken thighs sprinkled generously with Soulard Grill spice mixture from the Soulard Market Spice shop in St. Louis. (So sis, if you are reading this, we’ll need more of this when we meet up in August. So will son-in-law. Just saying!). And with freshly cut honeydew melon.
The pilaf was good. I am glad that I added the red pepper flakes. Even so, it was not overly spiced. And by adding all those extra vegetables I have leftovers for workday lunches. One cup of uncooked buckwheat will make 4 cups cooked so I think 2-3 cups of vegetables can easily be added. But why coat with the egg? For the breakfast cereal instructions this is omitted. I suppose it is so that the groats stay separate and don’t mush together like a porridge.
This pilaf recipe is a bit fussy in the process of cooking but makes a lot so is worth it. Heating up the leftoers will be quick and easy!