A buckwheat stew for a midweek cosy dinner
Not being a vegetarian or a vegan does not mean I don't indulge in dishes that are meat or fish free, based on grains, vegetables and pulses. I particularly like stews that are comprised of veggies, with thick broths where I can mop up crunchy bread, or heady sauces that are wine based. It's something that I really love cooking and eating during the colder months. When the Summer heat comes round, I change these stews for salads, and they do the trick as well. Actually, nothing beats a good old black eyed bean salad. It's kind of a treat for me and my son, seeing hubby is not very fond of black eyed beans. Not that the dish does not work with other beans, actually it goes well with whatever kind of bean you throw my way - except fava beans, I do have to draw the line there, as I cannot stand even the smell of those.
Another thing I'm very particular about is grains. I'm the kind of person who likes to browse through the supermarket aisles in search of different types of grain and grab a few packs to bring home with so I can try them. So far, I don't really like quinoa - is it a grain or a seed, I never know? - but that's the only one that has not made the cut. Haven't tried millet either, don't know if I will enjoy it, but as for all the others I've had around the house, I'm sold, I keep buying them over and over and I like them best in these heavy packed, heady stews I tend to cook with mostly veggies in it.
So far, the regular ones in my household consist of barley - my personal favourite, cannot get enough of barley, would eat barley even more regularly if the price tag was any lower - buckwheat, bulgur and farro, along with red rice which is really the best rice ever. I think I tend to cook them pretty much the same way, inside stews that have a lot of sauce, except for bulgur which I also cook many times as if it was plain, white rice. There's something about the taste of bulgur that makes me want to eat it cooked only with salt and water so I can better appreciate its flavour.
Recently, I finished off the buckwheat I had around the house, inside the proverbial stew, yes, but this time I wanted something different, with very little broth or sauce. I packed it up with loads of pumpkin, because nothing beats pumpkin in a stew, some mushrooms, carrots and tomatoes for good measure. There may have been quite a few onions thrown in, garlic and cellery too, I believe. There was a leftover pack of frozen veggie mix that got sent into this dish too, it was packed full of flavour with herbs and a good red wine to cook in. This is the kind of comfort food that means midweek dinners to me, when I'm in need of a rest and something that virtually cooks itself off.
So for this one, all you need is:
- 1 cup of buckwheat
- 2 medium sized onions
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 small red chilli
- 200 gr pumpkin
- 1 can mushrooms
- five or six ripe tomatoes
- 1 glass of red or white wine
- 2 cups of water or vegetable stock
- a small pack of frozen mixed veggies
- a scatter of your fave herbs - I used bay, rosemary, thyme, basil
- salt and olive oil