Savory Skillet Rye Flakes

Other than in some breads, rye is rarely used as a mainstay outside of Russia and Scandinavia.  Pity because in its rolled form, it’s a relatively quick-cooking and tasty whole grain.  It also lends itself well to savory applications like this hearty vegetable-studded side dish.  Serve it alongside your favourite protein, with a bowl of bean soup or use it to stuff peppers or squash.

Yield: 2-3 servings

What you need:

  • 2 teaspoons sunflower or olive oil (optional)
  • 1 cup rolled rye (whole rye flakes)
  • 1 onion, diced small
  • 1 carrot, diced small
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage, small squares
  • fresh sage, minced
  • fresh rosemary, minced
  • salt
  • 2 cups water (or veggie broth)

What you do:

  1. Heat a thick-bottomed skillet (cast-iron preferred) over medium heat.  When hot, add the rye flakes.  Using a wooden spatula, keep the flakes moving and dry-toast them until golden and aromatic, 8-10 minutes.
  2. Transfer the toasted flakes to a plate and let cool.
  3. While the flakes are cooling, put the skillet back on the burner and add the oil if using.  If not (the image shown is oil-free), then add the diced onion and carrot.  Stir and fry, giving the veggies a bit of time on the pan to get nice toasty bits.  Add the cabbage and keep at it for a few minutes more.  Now add the fresh sage and rosemary and stir to combine.
  4. Make sure you have a tight fitting lid for your pan at ready.  Add some water, about 1/2 cup of the 2 cups, and then cover the pan 30 seconds or so.  Uncover, scrape up all the good golden stuff and redistribute it throughout.  Work fast so you don’t lose too much water.
  5. Add salt to desired level, the rest of the water and cover again.  Once it’s simmering, turn the heat as low it will go and let it cook, covered, for about 30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
  6. Remove from heat and let sit, still covered, 10 minutes.
  7. Fluff and serve.

Variations:

  • Go gluten-free by replacing the rye flakes with old-fashioned GF rolled oats;
  • Replace the fresh herbs with other spices of your liking (dill seed or caraway would take this straight to Eastern Europe;)
  • For a more festive look, omit the onion, carrot and cabbage and use red pepper, corn kernels and peas!  (A clove of garlic and a bit of oregano or chives wouldn’t hurt either…)

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