Some say buckwheat is an acquired taste. But actually once you’ve acquired it, it’s truly yours. As one belonging to the team in defense of all buckwheat’s goodness, I am always looking for ways of experimenting with this gluten-free grain in other ways than a standard morning porridge or overnight oats. And here a new creation: Buckwheat with chestnuts, lemon and parsley.
Living in Europe, perhaps I should turn to our friends in Russia, Poland, and other eastern Europeans. Let’s face it, they know what do with this grain. Okay, truth be told, it’s actually not a grain, but rather a fruit (a fruit seed, to be exact) that resembles a cereal grain — one that can be used in a similar way to rice, barley, bulgur or quinoa. I prefer to use groats (or the flour its ground into) and haven’t really warmed to the noodle version. Groats are the intact seeds with the hull removed, and really quick to cook. They are what toasted is called “kasha” (which has a nice nutty flavor), and often used in eastern Europe.
The one thing about buckwheat is that it’s important to cook them according to the package instructions. They can easily be overcooked, or worse, you can add too much liquid, and who likes mushy groats? Nobody. So I tend to make mine a little more on the “al dente” side and add a tad less water (or broth) than what is really asked for. It’s something you get the feel for. Better al dente, than mushy, I say.
The inspiration for this recipe is thanks to a miraculous book I discovered. It’s like a flavor encyclopedia. It’s called The Vegetarian Flavor Bible and is a guide of sorts. A culinary creativity guide to combining the flavors of vegetables, fruits, grains, and more. And thanks to a little mental matrix of flavor mixings I decided to try a stab at this combo. And it tastes great!
I will mention this again, since the name is a little deceiving — just because it’s called buckwheat, doesn’t mean there is a relation to wheat — there is none whatsoever — it’s gluten-free! And it’s just as simple to make as white rice, but WAY healthier!
So here’s to a super quick side dish or vegetarian lunch or dinner for two. Serve it with your favorite steamed greens for even more goodness.
Buckwheat with Chestnuts, Lemon and Parsley
serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side
1 cup buckwheat groats (200 g)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, chopped
200 g vacuum-packed peeled, cooked chestnuts, chopped
juice from 1 1/2 lemons
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1. Cook the buckwheat according to package instructions.
Note: If your package instructions are anything like the ones on mine, then you need to do a little math. For 200 g, I cook it with 310 ml water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, until the liquid has been absorbed. I don’t bother to cover mine. This should take about 12-15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand, at this point covered, until all of the water has been absorbed (about 5 minutes). Fluff with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, (once the buckwheat is almost finished cooking), in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, saute for 1 minute, then add the green onion and chestnuts. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add the cooked buckwheat and lemon juice and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add the parsley and stir again. Serve immediately.
3. Voila, so easy. Enjoy!