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Kasha Varnishkes with Wild Mushroom Sauce

 
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Amarante




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Dec 24 2020, 11:04 am
Well this was not my Bubbe's Kasha and Varnishkes but it was similar enough so that it wouldn't scare any very traditional eaters. LOL

I did use schmaltz as I thought - why not go all the way - and the results were delicious. It can be made ahead per the instructions and really isn't more of a potchke than a plain version.

The cookbook has some very interesting recipes. It's traditional Jewish recipes (Ashkenazi for the most part) but rethought by chefs in much the same way as new chefs are transforming many traditional recipes. There is a recipe for Chinese Broccoli with Salami (stir fried with Asisan flavors like hoisin) that sounds delicious since I like Asian flavors and I like salami. There is even a fried egg on top so that the runny yolk adds to the sauce and is a further fusion element.

Kasha Varnishkes with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Excerpt From: Nick Zukin - The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Serves 4 to 6

Kasha is made with hulled kernels of buckwheat (also called buckwheat groats). The kernels are sautéed, then steamed to tenderness like rice, yielding a nutty, earthy flavor for a standout side dish. With a complementary mushroom sauce, kasha could even be offered as a red meat-free main. Add schmaltz to the sauté pan and the sauce intensifies the flavor, though you may substitute vegetable oil. Traditionally no herbs are added to kasha, but this modern adaptation with fresh thyme in the sauce and parsley in the kasha itself is more colorful and brighter tasting than its historic inspiration. If served with a meat entrée that has a sauce of its own, the mushroom sauce may be omitted.

Sauce

3 tablespoons Chicken Schmaltz or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound mushrooms, such as cremini, chanterelle, and porcini, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups Homemade Chicken Broth or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika - I used good quality sweet paprika - not that tasteless powder in the can but smoked paprika would be an interesting choice to add further depth of flavor
 
Kasha varnishkes

¼ cup Chicken Schmaltz or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 cups Homemade Chicken Broth or canned low-sodium
1 cup medium or coarse kasha
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh varnishkes - I used from the store but I bet that fresh pasta would be delicious if there is a source for fresh varnishkes (e.g. bow tie pasta)
5 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

To make the sauce, melt the schmaltz in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and it has evaporated and the onion is very tender and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the flour until it is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add the wine and stir to release any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, thyme, salt, pepper, and paprika. Bring the mixture to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer to allow the sauce to thicken and the flavors to meld, about 20 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep the sauce hot over low heat.

To make the kasha varnishkes, melt the schmaltz in a large saucepan or skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, stir the bottom of the pot to release any browned bits, and bring it to a simmer.

Meanwhile, place a dry sauté pan over medium-high heat. Mix together the kasha and egg in a small bowl, then pour the mixture into the hot pan. Using a fork or wooden spoon, spread out the egg-coated kasha, and then stir, breaking it up into individual grains as the egg dries and the kasha becomes lightly toasted and aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately add the kasha to the simmering chicken broth. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Cover the pan, decrease the heat to medium-low, and cook until the kasha is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Lower the heat to low to keep it hot.

Fill a large pot with 3 quarts water, add the remaining 2 tablespoons salt, and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the varnishkes and stir briefly to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Boil until the pasta is just tender, about 1 minute. Drain well and add the varnishkes to the pan with the kasha. Sprinkle in 3 tablespoons of the parsley and gently stir to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Serve immediately in warmed bowls with the mushroom sauce spooned over the top. Garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley.

Both the kasha varnishkes and the sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated, separately, in covered containers. Reheat both on the stovetop over medium heat. Add about ¼ cup more chicken broth to the kasha varnishkes if it is dry. If you plan to prepare it in advance, it is best to wait to add the parsley until after it is reheated and just before serving.
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