From Dish Amelia:
Spring is happening in New York. The markets have pretty, bright items and the city is breathing a sigh of relief (and sneezing). It’s a moment to look for the thrilling tender things we’ve been missing for too long. I’m hungry to translate the freshness around me into familiar comforts and new adventuresome fuel. So far I’ve bought some firm stalks of rhubarb, made some vibrant pestos, and kept an eye out in case I see something spring-y that needs my attention. So I was surprised to find inspiration much closer than I thought to look. One day it just happened. I made kasha. I live in Greenpoint Brooklyn, where the hipsters and the Poles reside but don’t collide all that often. There is a little Polish grocery around the corner from my house that I had missed, stocked with things I hadn’t seen before. Grocery stores are some of my favorite places for many reasons, and one is that you might see something different every time, not because they have new things, but because you are looking with different eyes. I had eaten kasha before, in bland, hearty, porridge-like formats alongside beef and horseradish, or with soup, but I had never made it. So, as I said hello to new light green leaves and random days of allergic misery, I messed around with kasha. The egg-toasting is a neat trick, which eliminates any mushy gruel-like tendency and keeps the grains differentiated. The saucy part might not look luscious, or like fresh crisp spring, but I was driven by the earthy part, the part giving forth all that growth. In fact, it’s the earthiest season, ingredient-wise. Lets start from the ground up, y’all. Mushrooms, poblanos (hey I’m a New Mexican), nuts, and kasha seem as earthy (flavorwise) as you can get – and it was, but it also turned out tasting gentle, healthy, grounded, spicy, interesting, bright, sweet, different. Something I was looking for.
1 cup kasha (This kind of kasha was apparently coarse barley, and looked kind of like steelcut oats, whereas I think buckwheat groats are the hulled version of the little dark pyramidal grains. I am little confused, but I can’t read polish, so moving on…)
2 cups water (or stock)
larger pinch pepper
1 egg lightly beaten
Boil 2 cups of water (or stock). Stir the egg into the kasha until well coated.
In a dry pot, heat the kasha and stir around until fragrant and the granules are crumbly looking. Add the boiling water to the crumbly kasha, salt and pepper, cover and heat on low until tender. When water has been absorbed, let stand for a few minutes.
For Saucy Part:
1 shallot finely diced
1/2 white onion finely diced
1 roasted, peeled, seeded poblano chile (or NM green chile), finely diced
a bit of butter or a T or 2 of olive oil
2 T half and half
2 T dry sherry
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Heat the fat on medium, and saute the onions, shallots, and poblanos together. As the onions and mushrooms wilt and lose their moisture, add S and P and the sherry and half and half. Let the sauciness come together and cook, and add a bit of water if it starts looking dry – about 10 minutes.
Dress most of the cooked kasha with the sauce (I used some of the kasha in other ways, for experimenting purposes).
Squeeze the half lemon over it. I ate it with cucumbers.