- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2004

When we think “healthy,” broccoli is the vegetable that often comes to mind. It’s an easy fit for most of us: easy to find; cook; and, yes, to love.

Less often do we think of the complex, delicious and under-appreciated other ultra-healthy B-food, buckwheat.

This grain is a quiet superfood that deserves more recognition.

Buckwheat, or kasha, as buckwheat groats are called when they’ve been roasted, is not related to wheat, nor is it a true cereal grain. It’s a relative of rhubarb, of all things.

Who would have guessed? With its strong, toasty aroma, easy cooking procedure and friendly, soft texture — not to mention its reasonable price — buckwheat is a pleasure to prepare and eat.

This gluten-free plant is also a nutritional force, containing all eight essential amino acids, calcium, vitamin E and almost the entire spectrum of the B complex. Here’s yet another attribute: Of all the whole grains, buckwheat takes the longest to digest, which means it has a very slow glycemic load and keeps us feeling full for a very long time. This humble food is a winner all around.

Buckwheat’s deep, earthy, down-home flavor and fluffy texture are perfect partners for broccoli. In this recipe, they team up beautifully, and the resulting dish is perfect for midautumn, when the leaves are just beginning to turn and a nip in the air shows up just around dinnertime.

File this recipe away as a hearty and inexpensive standby that can be made ahead and easily reheated in a microwave or conventional oven. It’s a meal in itself, especially with a generous topping of grated hard-cooked egg.

For a delightful autumn dinner, serve it with your favorite tomato soup and perhaps a marinated bean salad, a good merlot and an apple dessert.

Warm cobbler or pie or just fresh sliced apples and some aged cheddar with a sprinkling of toasted walnuts will round out the meal.

To get more mileage out of broccoli, use a vegetable peeler to shave the tough outer skin from the stem. The inner flesh of the stem is very tender, so with the tough skin removed, you can use the entire stalk.

Grate the eggs on the largest holes of a hand grater.

I prefer flat-leaf Italian parsley to the curly variety for this recipe.

Broccoli and buckwheat Godonov

2 cups buckwheat groats

2 tablespoons canola oil or butter

2 cups minced onion

½ teaspoon salt

½ pound mushrooms

1 pound broccoli trimmed and finely minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3 hard-cooked eggs, grated

Minced fresh parsley

Freshly ground black pepper

Place 3 cups water in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Sprinkle in the buckwheat, cover and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook 8 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, for another 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and set aside.

Heat oil or melt butter in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add onion and salt and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the onion begins to soften.

Add mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, then stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes longer, or until the broccoli is bright green and just tender.

Stir cooked buckwheat into the vegetables along with dill and lemon juice. Stir until well combined.

Serve topped with grated egg, minced parsley and freshly ground black pepper.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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