Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Blackberry and paprika buckwheat risotto

This dish is my first foray into cooked buckwheat. It wasn't going to be, but my original plan of a barley risotto was thwarted by discovering no barley in my cupboards. A quick spot of Googling led me to see buckwheat as a viable alternative. Now that I've cooked the grain (or more accurately, pseudo-grain) once, I am sure I'll be doing it again.


This dish evolved from a few sources. In a recent weekend Guardian, there was a feature on blackberry recipes that included a blackberry barbecue sauce and a blackberry rice salad. I drew inspiration from both for this: the barbecue sauce allowed me to consider pairing blackberries and paprika, and the rice salad allowed me to think about cooking berries up with grains. The vegetables were chosen based on what I had to hand, and I topped the photographed bowl with falafel because I had some of those about too.

I will readily confess that 'risotto' is a loose title and not strictly accurate. There is no cream or cheese equivalent in the mix, but the cooked buckwheat does have a fluffy comforting texture that was reminiscent of risotto to me.


Prior to making this, I'd harboured an idea that buckwheat needed to be toasted before cooking. Whilst you can do this (or buy the toasted type, usually labelled as kasha) it isn't actually necessary. It's also fine to cook the buckwheat without advance soaking, although if you do soak it, the cooking time will reduce.

For those of you who see blackberries in a savoury dish as a bit odd - they really do work. I found the flavour combination of sweet-tart berries with full-bodied paprika particularly nice, and soy sauce (for salt) and cinnamon (for contrast) round out the seasonings. It's an unusual selection of ingredients but it won me over. I think I'll have to try the blackberry barbecue sauce in the future too!

On a final note, I didn't intend to share near consecutive blackberry posts, but I guess they reflect what is happening in my kitchen this week. I'll move on to other ingredients, I promise!

Blackberry and paprika buckwheat risotto
A full-flavoured dish that makes a hearty side or base for a main (just add nuts, falafel, tofu, or protein of choice)
Serves 4
Vegan and low in fat

Author: Bite-sized thoughts, with inspiration from blackcurrant recipes in the Guardian newspaper (August 2015)


Ingredients
1 cup raw untoasted buckwheat (toasted should also be fine but the cooking method may vary)
4 cups water
2 tbsp dried paprika
1 cup blackberries (fresh or frozen)
1-1/2 cups green beans
Corn from 1 head sweetcorn (approximately 1/2 cup)
1 small courgette, chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Toppings, as desired, to serve (falafel balls work well)

Method
Rinse the buckwheat and then place in a large saucepan along with the water. Cover and bring to the boil, before reducing heat to simmering point. Add the paprika and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

When the buckwheat is cooked and the water absorbed, add the blackberries, beans, corn, courgette, soy sauce and cinnamon. Stir through and allow to cook uncovered for a further 10 to 15 minutes on low heat.




Are you a fan of cooked buckwheat? Are there dishes featuring it you would recommend?

16 comments:

  1. Sounds like an interesting dish - I have enjoyed cooked buckwheat in chilli non carne and salads and highly recommend you try it this way - am intrigued by blackberries in a savoury dish but blackberries not common here. I did find it odd that you said it is not a proper risotto because no cream or cheese - I see risotto as cooking grains to be creamy and rather than adding cream to it (I never add cream to rice risotto but do top with cheese sometimes)

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    1. I may be revealing my ignorance of traditional risotto :p Thanks for your buckwheat ideas!

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    2. I may be revealing my risotto ignorance as well :-)

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  2. This recipe is perfect timing for me - I bought some buckwheat a few weeks ago, but I totally forgot what I have bought it for, so I have been wondering what I can make with it. Your risotto sounds like a great idea (especially with the blackberries and served with falafel, I can totally see how that combination would work!). I also like Johanna's suggestion above for using buckwheat in chilli non carne, will have to try that too!

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    1. I'm glad I could offer some ideas Kyra - and Johanna's suggestions should keep you going for a while!

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  3. I haven't used buckwheat in a risotto before, but it would be a good way to mix it up. I will have to make it just for me though, as for some reason my husband is really not a fan of risotto.

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  4. Love those blackberries supplying the balance in that savoury dish, so I welcome that!!

    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways xx

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  5. I love making risottos with grains that aren't rice! I've never cooked with buckwheat before, but it is definitely on my grain bucket list! Looks great.

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    1. It's definitely a fun alternative to rice!

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  6. I don't mind seeing posts involving blackberries! My little guy loves them and when in season, we'll buy a punnet and he'll eat them on his way home from the shops. I haven't had them cooked like this before. I love the sound of them with the cinnamon and soy xx

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    1. I can understand them not always getting home from the shops :-)

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  7. This looks really good. I had grand plans to make buckwheat porridge but the only time I made it, it was a failure.

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    1. I've never made buckwheat porridge cooked actually - perhaps I won't bother trying!

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  8. Another great version of risotto. Healthy and creative!

    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways xx

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