This week was filled with thundershowers, torrential downpours and brisk nights… despite this lackluster weather, we did awake to the chirping of a humming bird with its face all up in our balcony nasturtiums, which kind of equalled the best way to wake up… This cooler weather had me craving something warm and comforting, so I whipped up a twist on classic risotto.
Buckwheat acts as the base, giving this dish a nice subtle chewy texture. We simmer it with some stock and stir in some blended peas and spinach to make beautifully vibrant green dish that truly embodies spring. To top it all off we add some umami packed sautéed mushrooms, an oozy egg (because eggs are the best!) and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. For a vegan version, omit the egg and add more mushrooms.
I was excited to see shelling peas on the market stand. Fresh peas are always a treat! Some aspects of cooking that might irritate others, I happen to find rather meditative. Shelling fresh peas is one of those tasks (along with peeling garlic or hulling strawberries destined for the freezer). It forces me to slow down and simply focus on the task at hand… either that or it means extra time to listen to podcasts (yes I cook with headphones in and a podcast on at 1 1/2x speed pretty much always). However I know not everyone feels this way about shelling peas, so I opted to use frozen peas in the puree, and then stir in some fresh peas for flavour and texture. Feel free to simply use frozen peas and skip the shelling process altogether.
Some information about buckwheat:
- it’s not a grain
- it’s gluten free
- it’s full of fibre
- it’s packed with nutrients
Buckwheat Spinach and Pea Risotto
- 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 2 medium Leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 cups Buckwheat groats
- 5 cups Stock, unsalted
- 3 cups Peas (I used 2 cups frozen, and 1 cup fresh shelled peas)
- 4 heaping cups Spinach (I used 1 bag from the farmers market)
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
- 1 cup Water
- 3 Tbsp. White Miso paste
- 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 lb. (454g) mushrooms (I used shiitake, oyster mushrooms are also delicious in this recipe but any mushrooms you like would work well)
- 4 eggs, poached or fried
- toasted sesame oil
Heat 2 Tbps. olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in minced garlic and cook for 1 minutes. Add buckwheat groats and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Adjust heat to high and stir in stock. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium, cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the buckwheat is cooking sauté mushrooms: heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned stirring every few minutes.
In a food processor combine 2 cups of peas (this is where I used the frozen peas), spinach, lemon zest and water. Process until everything is well blended.
When buckwheat has absorbed the liquid and has softened, stir in miso paste, mix well and add pea/spinach mixture, as well 1 cup of peas (this is where I used fresh shelled peas).
Poach or fry egg.
Serve risotto topped with mushrooms, egg and finish with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.