If you’ve read some of the older posts, even some of the newer ones, you know I have a thing for beets and buckwheat. Preferably together. For some reason, I just find that they get along great; add walnuts and you have a stellar threesome that works. This filling has all that and more. It stands alone as a side dish – but for the Holidays it’s even more fun rolled into some steamed greens to make a pretty appetizer. Smother it in sauce and call it a main course! If you have leftover filling, shape it into patties and lightly panfry them for a savory snack because it’s that versatile. While this version is pale, featuring Chioggia beets, feel free to be bold and make a statement with some red beets or go golden with the yellow variety.
Yield: 5 cups of Christmas Kasha, enough for about 30 small rollups (about the size of a stuffed vine leaf each)
What you need:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cups cooked, peeled & diced beet (about 4 small)
- 1 tablespoon mirin (a sweet Japanese cooking wine)
- 1 cup kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 whole star anise pod
- 3 whole green cardamom pods
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 whole cloves
- 7 allspice berries
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, broken into small pieces
- lightly steamed green leaves: collard, chard, kale, broccoli leaves (shown) – or you could use canned vine leaves if desired as well
What you do:
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Heat a cast iron pan or large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and the onion. Cook slowly, lowering the heat to medium-low, until the onion is beginning to become golden.
- Raise the heat to medium again, add the remaining teaspoon of oil to the pan and add the beets. Stir and fry for a couple of minutes, until the beets are heated through and shiny.
- Pour the mirin over the beets and onions and stir to mix. Add the kasha and mix to combine it evenly with the vegetables. Now add the water, tamari, salt and whole spices. Let the mixture come to a boil. Cover tightly and put it in the oven.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes, covered.
- Remove the cover. Remove the whole spices and compost them. Fold in the toasted walnuts and serve as is, or use to stuff the steamed greens.
- To make pretty little rollups, lay a whole steamed green on a board, counter or plate. Mound between 2 and 3 tablespoons of the filling in the center – depending on the amount the leaf can comfortably contain. Fold the edges of the leaf over the filling and then roll it up, burrito-style. Repeat with the remaining leaves.