Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sauerkraut, Ham and Kasha (slow cooker)

This isn't a complicated recipe, but it was delicious. Buckwheat groats, a.k.a. Kasha, are one of the healthiest and filling things you can eat, loaded with protein. Only this is, while I have had wonderful Kasha at Russian restaurants in the Far Northeast, mine always tastes like socks. However, toss it with sauerkraut and the flavor is much better (assuming you like sauerkraut).
  • 1 Bag Fresh Sauerkraut, rinsed
  • 1.5 lbs. smoked meat (I used the remannts of a ham and three smoked turkey drumsticks)
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds and
  • tsp. thyme
  • 1.5 cups buckwheat groats
  • 2 cups stock
  • 2 tbs. butter


  1. Toss the first four ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low until meat is falling off bone. Remove bones.
  2. Put the groats, stock and butter in a saucepan, cover, bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes
  3. Add cooked groats to kraut and meat slowly (until it's about 1/3 kasha and 2/3 kraut.
  4. Season to taste.
  5. Eat.

Frugal Factor: Ridiculously cheap. $1 for the groats, $1.50 for the kraut, $2.75 for the turkey legs. That's $5.20 for four portions, or $1.31/portion.

Risotto w/ Scallops, Saffron and Fava Beans

Fresh green fava beans have been showing up on American menus a lot lately. I use frozen ones, sold as Broad Beans by Goya. One benefit to the frozen beans is that if you just run them under hot water for a minute, the inedible shells thaw while the beans stay frozen, so it’s easier to remove the shells without crushing the bean.


2 cups chopped scallops (chopped if big, whole if small)

2 cups shelled fava beans (you could use peas too)

1 chopped white onion (leeks would be great here)

2 chopped garlic cloves

2 tbs. olive oil

2 cups Arborio or Sushi Rice

4-5 cups Stock (I used Better than Bouillon lobster stock, which works well here but is generally disgusting. If you don’t have time/constitution/ventilation to make your own fish stock, chicken or vegetable stock will do.)

Pinch each of saffron, white pepper, marjoram, and cayenne pepper

1⁄4 cup heavy cream (optional)

Lightly sauté onions in 1 tbs.olive oil. Add rice and brown the rice a little. Add garlic. Add half the stock and stir. Set to simmer, and add fava beans when rice is half-cooked. Slowly add rest of stock. When rice is a just a bit harder than al dente, add the spices and scallops. Keep stirring until a creamy, loose consistency had been achieved. Finish with cream and 1 tbs. olive oil and serve immediately.

For the portions you freeze, add a little stock to help with reheating in the microwave.

Frugal Factor: I bought the main ingredients so long ago I am a little lost. I think it would be $4 for the scallops left over from a big bag I got on sale, $1.50 for the fava beans, $4 for the Arborio rice at the overcharging supermarket price, $1 for everything else. I got 6 servings out of this recipe, so that’s $1.75/serving. A restaurant would sell this for $15!