General Discussion

Kasha Varnishkes...What's your latest food obsession?


General Discussion 13

Kasha Varnishkes...What's your latest food obsession?

Evil Ronnie | Nov 17, 2003 12:11 PM

One of my newest food obsessions is a great plate of kasha varnishkes. Yes, like many others, I have recently tinkered with Atkins like regimens in order to control my weight, but it seems as though I'm always drawn back to the grainy, starchy stuff. Hopefully, I'm over the frozen Snickers obsession that has plauged me over the last month as well.

My favorite plate of kasha is at Manny's, a beloved Delicatessen/cafeteria in Chicago's old garment district. Manny's buffet line features such blue collar dishes as macaroni and cheese, beef stew, braised short ribs (with vegetables, of course), fried smelts ( midwestern favorite), stuffed green peppers in tomato sauce, braised lamb shank, the list goes on...

Manny's kasha has an old world flavor, just like Bubby made it. No al dente grains here. No chewiness. Well braised buckwheat groats and well cooked bowtie noodles in a steam table pan, scented with real shmaltz. The crowning touch is a thick layer of schmaltz caramelized chopped onion covering the entire steam table pan. I ask for extra onions. Kasha is a Thursday speciatly at Mannys along with braised oxtails. I've tried the oxtails and braising liquid over the kasha, and while it is mighty good, I have now gravitated back to the simple, grainy goodness of the kasha. Hmmm...maybe next time I'll ask for a little jus from the sliced roasted beef drizzled over my plate of kasha...

I can only remember my mother making kasha once, and I didn't much care for it. Back then I probably would have preferred a Whopper.

Tried making it at my girlfriend's place the other night. Fresh stock, Empire chicken fat, a Polish brand buckwheat groats from one of the Russian/Polish groceries in Wheeling. Pretty good, but a little too chewy. Not wonderfully cooked to death. Roasted a small piece of strip loin and drizzled a little beef jus over. Had some nice garlic sauteed spinach with it.

Any particular food/dish that is driving you absolutely crazy? I've had dirty rice on my brain now for a couple weeks, so...

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