Recipe Submitted by : Russian Recipe Book
Duration : 240 Minutes
Serves : 10
This is an old recipe for making buckwheat kasha in the oven. If you don’t want to end up with a ton of kasha, just proportionately decrease the amounts of ingredients. For this recipe you’ll need a Dutch oven. If your Dutch oven is made of non-enameled cast iron and is properly seasoned, it’ll get you very close to the original Russian pot called chugunok (чугунок) even though the shape of chugunok is different. The volume of your Dutch oven should be twice the volume of the buckwheat before adding water.
2 lbs. whole grain buckwheat
½ lbs. unsalted butter (yes, a lot, but see above)
Salt to taste
10 onions (yes, the whole bag – it must have been cheap over a century ago) – optional
½ tsp. ground black pepper (or adjust the amount to suit your taste) – optional
Extra butter as needed for sautéing
- Inspect the buckwheat and remove any dirt and husks.
- Preheat the oven to 250°F.
- Roast the buckwheat on low heat in a frying pan until reddish in color. You may want to do it in batches to ensure all the grains are roasted evenly. Wolff’s Kasha already comes roasted although you can roast it a bit more for extra flavor.
- Put roasted buckwheat in the Dutch oven while it is still hot and add butter and salt. You can put 2 tsps. of salt at this stage and add the rest before serving, if necessary.
- Mix everything well. If the buckwheat has cooled off, melt the butter before adding it. It should coat the grains well.
- Pour boiling water on top of the buckwheat – just enough to cover the grains.
- Stir, cover with lid, and put in the oven.
- Pour boiling water in a wide shallow saucer or a sauce pan, and put it in the oven. Add boiling water to the sauce pan (but not to kasha – don’t open the lid until done) as it evaporates. Be careful not to scald yourself with steam especially when opening the oven! This step is more important if your Dutch oven or pot doesn’t have a tight lid.
- Drop the oven’s temperature setting to about 200°F – 220°F (this will simulate the conditions in a naturally cooling Russian oven that takes a long time to lose heat thanks to its huge mass).
- Keep in the oven for about 3 hours.
- You can stop here and serve the kasha with your favorite gravy, beef tallow, sautéed onions, goose or chicken skin cracklings, goose fat (schmaltz) or even pour some borscht or schi over it.
- You can continue and instead of serving the kasha as suggested in the previous step, do the following:
- Finely chop the onions (yes, all 10 of them).
- Mix the cooked kasha, onions, and pepper.
- Sautee the mix in a large skillet adding extra butter as needed (yes, even more butter!) until the onion is done. The onion pieces should lose a lot of their original volume and turn translucent and golden. Stop sautéing whenever you’ve achieved the flavor you like. You can also adjust the salt level at this point.
- Finally, toward the end, a small amount of finely chopped or ground boiled liver can be added to the kasha. We don’t expect too many people to venture that far, so we didn’t put the liver even on the list of optional ingredients. You can try using liverwurst to expedite things. Note that without this final step and if not served with meat gravy, cracklings, etc., kasha is a meatless/vegetarian dish.
- That’s it. Serve hot and enjoy (if you still can)!