UKRAINE: Hrechanyky / baked kasha

This was one of those culinary failures that had a successful salvage. Buckwheat is a hearty countryside staple of Ukrainian cuisine, and it’s often cooked as kasha – cooking the grain with veggies and meat and other good things. However, I had scored a bag of toasted Ukrainian buckwheat, and I was feeling clever. I was aiming to make hrechanyky – cutlets made out of boiled buckwheat and meat, browned in a pan, then baked in the oven using the recipe from Authentic Ukraine.

I know where I messed up, and the fault was totally mine for not reading the recipe thoroughly. I measured out the uncooked weight of buckwheat instead of cooked – and kasha is kind of like rice for expansion of volume and weight, so I ended up with WAY more kasha than meat….or anything else. While I did increase the eggs, the patties just weren’t really holding together, and I got maybe one or two to make it through the bowl to the dredge to the pan to the oven. They did come out delicious, though.

Not good, but tasty

So instead, I put the rest of the buckwheat / meat / egg / onion mix into a baking pan and threw it into the oven. Boom! Baked kasha – I had improvised myself into a version of a different Ukrainian dish, and it worked well enough. I originally boiled the buckwheat in broth to increase the flavour, and I had a homemade smoked chicken broth in my freezer that really added to the toasty flavour already there.

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