No holiday would be complete in my home without Kasha Varnishkas. It is an acquired taste for some because of its texture and nutty flavor. You could say this is truly Jewish soul food. It's my mothers favorite. My tribute to her is at the end of this blog.
I would be remiss if I didnt say how different 2020 has been for my small family. Usually between my daughter and myself we bring a simple meal to my mom, soup, Kasha and one more dish with apples and honey. I used to make big holidays with all the traditional Eastern European foods and invite the world. This year I dropped off three freezer bags of kasha for my mom. It was surreal.
Kasha is high in protein, and B vitamins and is naturally gluten free. It is not a grain but comes from the rhubarb family. It's considered a pseudo grain. Traditionally, its toasted with a scrambled egg in a pan before you add the broth, but you could leave it out and make it vegan. The gluten free bow ties could be substituted for regular bow ties it you're not gluten free. Jovial makes a nice gluten free brown rice bow tie.
This makes about 12 servings. We always make this amount and it freezes really well. but it never ends up in the freezer.
13 oz box of course grain or medium grain kasha . I like Wolffs brand.
1 lb box Jovial Gluten free rice bow tie noodles. If you're not gf by all means us regular bow ties
1 egg scrambled ( optional)
2 cups of broth
plus more if needed.
1 very large onion diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, fill with water and bring to a boil. With gluten free pastas I always add a few drops of olive oil. Cook the bow ties until tender, drain and rinse. Set aside.
While the bowties are cooking sauté the onions in a large saute pan until they caramelize. Remove and set aside.
In the same pan you made the onions pour the dry kasha in the pan and stir in the beaten egg. medium heat.. This just brings out the nutty flavor. If you have an egg allergy, or are vegan you can leave this step out.
Pour in two cups of broth ( vegetable or chicken ) Add a little more broth if it looks too dry. Lower the heat and cover. Cook until all the broth is absorbed. It should be fluffy not mushy.
In a large bowl, combine the bowties, kasha and onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Yum ! We love it. Its healthy and nutritious.
Even if one tradition is kept alive, one dish, you are honoring your elders and ancestors. This dish is to honor my mom.
May we all have a Healthy New Year first and foremost. My mother is sad and sickened by the state of this country. She lived though the horror of Hitler and sees history repeating itself. True to my mothers outspoken personality, it is my mothers greatest wish to see Biden and Harris win this years election. She will tell every Dr, Dentist, nurse and family member how she feels. She adores Barak Obama. " Now he's what I call a mensch" ( a human being) .
She's still pretty pretty badass at 94.
I was raised aware of and educated by parents that believed in racial equality. Our friends were a rainbow of humanity.
Our holiday table always welcomed every race, creed ,religion and color, before it was a thing. No one on our block or town did what we did. She used to taunt the racist neighbors and say "We are going to be here a long time, get used to it." Its how we lived and knew no different. I have a good teacher. People first. May it be so.
Shana Tova , Sweet New Year