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Kasha Varnishkes

Kasha Varnishkes

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Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a friend’s recipe.

A Jewish friend gave me his grandmother’s recipe for this side dish. He said she insisted on using only chicken fat, but I think you could substitute with olive oil if your are looking for a healthier form of fat. Whole buckwheat groats might be difficult to find. I bought mine at a Jewish deli. She also insisted on bow tie pasta made with egg, which I also found at the deli, but I used tri-color farfalle because I though it would look better in the video.

Ingredients:

2 medium or 1 large onion—12 ounces (340g) total
3 tablespoons chicken fat
1 large egg
1 cup (170g) whole buckwheat groats
2 cups (473ml) chicken stock, preferably homemade
Pinch of salt
Pepper to taste
3 ounces (85g) farfalle (bow tie) pasta (can be increased to 8 oz./227g to stretch this dish)

Directions:

1. Coarsely chop the onion. Heat the chicken fat in a large skillet and cook the onion until caramelized, reducing the heat periodically as the moisture cooks off. This could take 30 to 40 minutes. Set aside.

Note: Some variations of this recipe say to cook the onion only until tender and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Add the egg to a medium saucepan and then add the groats. Stir to coat. Cook over medium heat until the pan begins to look dry.

3. Add the stock, then break up the groats and egg until fairly well separated. Bring the stock to a boil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer over low heat until the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the bow tie pasta (farfalle) and cook according to package directions. Drain.

5. Combine all the cooked ingredients in the skillet and heat to serving temperature. Taste for salt and season as desired. Serve as a side dish.