Basic Kasha Recipe and Variations

photo taken by Olga Massov, on October 27, 2008, CC licensing

Yield: about 4 servings


1 large egg
1 cup kasha, preferably medium- or coarse-grind
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth or water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Schmaltz (rendered poultry fat), butter, or margarine

In a medium bowl, beat the egg with a fork. Stir in the kasha and mix until each grain is thoroughly coated. Heat the broth or water to simmering. In a heavy lidded skillet with high sides or a wide heavy saucepan, toast the kasha over medium heat, turning and breaking up the kasha constantly until the egg begins to dry and the grains separate, about 3 minutes. Add the hot broth or water and salt and pepper to taste, cover, and simmer over very low heat until tender and all the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes or so. Stir in the schmaltz, butter, or margarine to taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot.

Stir well-seasoned sauteed onions, leeks, or mushrooms, or a combination into the cooked kasha. (Don't cook these along with the kasha-you will not get the full benefit of their flavoring that way). I like to sauté some garlic too with the onions and mushrooms, and sometimes I add a few drops of soy sauce to the mushrooms to beef up their flavor. Other nice additions to cooked kasha: fresh herbs- thyme, marjoram, chives, sliced scallions; sauteed nuts, like walnuts, slivered almonds, or pine nuts. To make kasha stuffing for poultry or breast of veal: prepare the basic kasha recipe with any or all of the above additions, and/or golden raisins and chopped apricots, if desired; add a beaten egg and combine well. For kasha varnishkes, combine the cooked kasha and sauteed onions with egg noodles, bowties or other pasta shapes (preferably small ones) that have been cooked until tender in well-salted water. The basic kasha recipe is also delicious topped with brisket gravy, sour cream, or yogurt.

Sephardic or Askhenazi