Archive for Grains

Brown Rice Risotto With Winter Squash

The meat or fish is totally optional; the chew and flavor are of course welcome, but this could be a fine vegan risotto. And as with any risotto, the leftovers have insane potential. Since a cup of brown rice produces around four cups of cooked rice, with all these substantial add-ins this recipe really serves four people, even as a main course.

The night I made it, there were two of us. The next night, I crisped maybe two ounces of chopped bacon in a little more olive oil, then scooped that out and sautéed a little more onion and a cup of peas (actually, frozen), cranked the heat and browned the leftover rice in there: instant fried rice, and never better.

Which brings me to the Parmesan. I consider it optional largely because I’ve come to prefer leaner, simpler risottos. Traditionally (I suppose), butter was the fat of choice, and Parmesan used whenever it was available and appropriate — that is, a good pairing. In restaurants at least, a big hunk of butter is often stirred in at the end of cooking to enrich the dish and take it over the top. (If you’ve ever wondered why your risotto is not as velvety and filling as that in restaurants, it’s because you have more of a conscience than most chefs.)

But I start with good olive oil and often omit the Parmesan, finishing the dish instead with a lot of chopped herb. The results not only showcase the rice and add-ins, they are also cleaner. If you want an even sharper flavor, you could add a bit of lemon juice at the last second.

About 45 minutes

1 cup short- or medium-grain brown rice
3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 medium onion or large shallot, chopped
Black pepper
About 2 cups winter squash in roughly 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup dry white wine or water
About 4 cups any stock (shrimp, chicken, lobster, vegetable, pork) or water
About 1 cup bite-size pieces of meat or shellfish (precooked is O.K.): sausage, pork, lobster, shrimp, chicken, etc.
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, optional
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley

Bring medium pot of water to a boil and salt it. Stir in brown rice, adjust heat so that water bubbles steadily, and cook without stirring, until rice is swollen and half-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain. (If you want to wait a bit before proceeding, spread the rice on a platter or sheet tray so it cools.)
Put oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add onion or shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy and coated with oil, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then stir in the squash; add the wine. Stir and let liquid bubble away.
Begin to add the stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring after each addition and every minute or so. When the stock is just about evaporated, add more. Keep the heat medium to medium-high and stir frequently.
When rice is just about tender and mixture is creamy, stir in shellfish or meat and continue to cook, adding more liquid if necessary, until rice is tender. The final dish should be quite moist but not soupy. Add Parmesan if you’re using it, then taste and add more salt or pepper (or both) if necessary. Garnish with basil or parsley and serve.

4 servings

Originally published with A Different Shade of Risotto


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Quinoa With Mushrooms, Kale, and Sweet Potatoes

1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
10 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
3/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth or vegetable broth
kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)

Place the quinoa and 2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the sweet potatoes and mushrooms and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden and beginning to soften, 5 to 6 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the kale, wine, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, tossing often, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Serve the vegetables over the quinoa and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Per Serving
Calories 361
Fat 12g
Sat Fat 2g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 560mg
Protein 13g
Carbohydrate 51g
Fiber 6g

Real Simple

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Nami-Nami’s Beet & Buckwheat Kasha (Peedi-tatrahautis)

2 Tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250 g buckwheat groats (about 300 ml/1 cup)
750 ml boiling water (3 cups)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
500 g cooked beetroot, grated
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

sour cream or plain yogurt, to serve

First, you need to toast the buckwheat. The buckwheat we usually use in Estonia is pre-roasted and dark brown, so this can be heated on a dry skillet for about 2-3 minutes. If you’re using the “light” buckwheat groats, then roast them on a dry hot skillet for about 6-7 minutes, until it’s nicely toasty and aromatic.

Heat the oil in a large high frying pan/sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so.

Add the toasted buckwheat and boiling water, season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce heat and simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, until the water has absorbed and buckwheat is nice and soft (but not mushy!).

Fold in the grated beets and heat for another 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning, stir in the dill and serve hot. Lovely with a dollop of sour cream/yogurt and some grilled (Portobella) mushrooms.

Nami-Nami’s Beet & Buckwheat Kasha

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Susan V’s Spicy Kasha Vegetable Salad

Instead of kasha, you can substitute 1 cup of quinoa, bulgur wheat, or any whole grain and cook it in the amount of water appropriate to the grain. Check a grain cooking chart such as the one here.

1 cup buckwheat kasha, medium granulation
2 cups vegetable broth
2 medium tomatoes, chopped fine
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper chopped
1/2 large cucumber peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar (or pomegranate molasses)
1-3 teaspoon hot pepper paste or sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon water

Heat 2 cups of vegetable broth (or heat water and add vegetable bouillon). While you’re waiting for it to come to a boil, toast the kasha in a large, dry saucepan for about 3 minutes, or until it releases a nutty aroma. When the broth reaches a boil, add it carefully to the kasha (watch out for spatters!) Cover and turn the heat very low. Cook until kasha is tender and all liquid is absorbed, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff, and allow to cool. Kasha can be refrigerated and stored overnight, if necessary.

Add all chopped vegetables and the chickpeas to the kasha. Mix the lemon juice and remaining ingredients well and add them to the kasha, stirring so that the dressing is distributed evenly. Serve mounded in the center of a large platter, with butternut lettuce leaves. To eat, spoon some of the salad into a lettuce leaf and eat like a taco or burrito.

Susan V’s Spicy Kasha Vegetable Salad

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Nami-Nami’s Buckwheat Kasha with Mince (Tatrapuder hakklihaga)

250 g minced meat (8.8 ounces; about 1 cup)
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
400 g buckwheat groats (14 ounces; about 1 pound)
oil for frying
1 litre of water, boiling (34 ounces; about a quart)
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil on a frying pan over high heat, add the minced meat and brown, stirring every now and then. Reduce the heat to moderate, add the carrot and onions, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes to slighly soften the onions.

Heat some oil in a large heavy saucepan, add the buckwheat groats and toast them for about 5 minutes, stirring to coat and toast evenly. Add the fried meat and onion mixture to the buckwheat groats, give it a stir and pour over the boiling water.

Cover the saucepan and simmer on a low heat for 30-40 minutes, until buckwheat groats are soft. Serve hot with sliced pickled cucumbers and cold horseradish and sour cream sauce*.

* To make the cold horseradish sauce grate some fresh horseradish, add enough sour cream to achieve the consistency and potency you like and season with salt.

LEFTOVERS? No worries – simply heat the cold buckwheat kasha in some oil or butter on the following day.

Nami-Nami’s Buckwheat Kasha with Mince

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Armenian red lentils and bulgur (vospov khyma)

2 cups red lentils
6 cups water
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup fine bulgur wheat
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Clean and wash red lentils, and place in a stock pot with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer over low heat. In the meantime, in a small frying pan, sauté chopped onion in olive oil until light brown. Add to lentils.

When the lentils are cooked (about 1/2 hour), remove from stove and stir in bulgur, plus salt and pepper to taste. Let stand until bulgur has absorbed all of the liquid. Serve at room temperature or warm, topped with chopped parsley.

The Perfect Pantry

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