This stew was the result of a few idle thoughts about how to make buckwheat a little more interesting (the commute was slow that day). And – crucially – what to combine it with apart from oily vegetables.
Buckwheat is used extensively across Eastern Europe and Russia, so that had me reaching for beetroot – I love an excuse to make a pink soup. Two earthy components need some sweetness, but rather than plumping for sweet potato, I’ve used celeriac. It’s a little more subtle and the nutty hint of celery adds another dimension to this stew.
Definitely use fresh dill and caraway seeds for this stew; they transform the dish – as does a spoonful of tahini which adds a creamy richness.
Ingredients (serves 6)
1 bunch of raw beetroots (about 500g)
1 large celeriac
Oil for roasting & frying – I use coconut oil
2 large onions
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
1 tbs of tahini paste
1 tbs good quality vegetables
stock (optional) dissolved in 1.5l water
Juice & zest of 2 lemons
1 packet of fresh dill (18-25g)
1 tsp caraway seeds
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 (fan)/220 (conventional)
- Chop the stalks and roots off the beetroots, slice them into quarters and place in a baking tray with a dribble of water. Oven cook for about 50 minutes or so; turning the beetroot mid-way and replenish the water level if necessary.
- Meanwhile, peel the celeriac and slice into little cubes. Roast in the oven for around 40 minutes, in a separate vessel to the beetroot, until soft and golden.
- Dice the onions and fry in a smear of oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and put the lid on the saucepan to let everything ‘sweat’ gently for 5-10 minutes. Check and stir at regular intervals to make sure the vegetables aren’t burning on the bottom of the pan.
- When the onions are soft and almost translucent, stir in the tinned plum tomatoes, breaking up the fruit with your wooden spoon – or hands.
- When the beetroots have finished cooking (they probably won’t be very soft but this doesn’t matter), peel off the skins either with your hands or using a potato peeler. Slice each segment in half/to a small chunk – similar size to your celeriac.
- Tip both the celeriac and beetroot chunks into the saucepan, stir well and add 1.5 litres of water or water and stock mixture. Turn up the heat, allowing the stew to simmer gently for about 15 minutes – or until the beetroot has softened up.
- Rinse the buckwheat and throw it in. Let the soup cook for a further 12-15 minutes – or the time recommended on the buckwheat packet – taste to make sure it is cooked. The grains should be soft but still hold their shape.
- Stir in the tahini, lemon juice and zest, dill and caraway seeds. Feel free to add a little more water if you prefer your stews a little less thick.