Jeweled Kasha

Inspired by the wonderful fruit and nut studded rice dishes of the Middle East, I came up with this and it really worked!  Kasha is roasted buckwheat groats, and if you have not tried it, you really should.  I find some grains hard to get through sometimes, but kasha is just plain yummy.  It is also very low in fat, and high in protein.  It can be made sweet for breakfast, or savory as a side dish or stuffing.  In this recipe, the kasha plus the almonds and egg make it an even better protein source, and with the pomegranate seeds and seasonings, high in antioxidants and very low in fat and sodium.  Can’t beat that with a stick!

2 cups water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup kasha

1 egg (or egg white)

¼ cup whole almonds

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. fresh orange zest

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup water

¼ cup fresh pomegranate seeds

Boil water and oil in a medium saucepan that has a tightly fitting lid.  Lightly beat egg in a bowl with a fork and stir in the kasha kernels to coat.  In a separate skillet, heat egg-coated kasha over high heat, stirring constantly until the egg has dried and the kernels are more-or-less separate.  Quickly stir kasha into boiling water.  Cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer 7-10 minutes until kernels are tender and liquid is absorbed (water hangs out at the bottom if not done.  Check with fork rather than spoon so you don’t mash the fluffy kernels).  In the skillet you just used, toast the almonds over medium-high heat stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.  You should just start to smell them.  Add cinnamon, a pinch salt and a little freshly ground pepper and stir for one minute.  Add orange zest and ¼ cup water and stir until almost dry.  When kasha is done, take off heat and stir in almond mixture and pomegranate seeds.  Serve immediately.  Makes about 4 cups; serves 4-6.

Variations: lightly brown sliced onions and/or mushrooms and stir them in with the almond mixture.

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