The dish was made gluten-free, with the help of buckwheat, on Ian's behalf. We often turn to buckwheat when going gluten-free for friends. It's filling without being too heavy, possesses an incredibly pleasant nutty flavor, and has a chewy, steel-cut oat-like texture to it that I love.
The next morning, Hubs added a fried egg to the dish (over-hard for me & Huxley, over-easy for himself) for a protein-packed lunch. Some feta sprinkled on top added a little extra salt and creaminess. A perfect meal for dinner, lunch, brunch, or anytime eating is in order.
Mediterranean Beef & Buckwheat
-2 cups buckwheat
-4 cups water
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1/2 onion, diced
-1 red pepper, diced
-1 carrot, diced
-2 stalks of celery, diced
-2 small Japanese eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch disks
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2 lbs lean ground beef or ground lamb
-2 tomatoes, diced
-1 cup of wine (we used rosé)
-2 tbsp lemon juice
-Zest of one lemon
-About 10 green olives, sliced
-1/4 cup currants or raisins
-1 tsp white wine vinegar
-1 handful of chopped herbs (we used mint, lemon balm, rosemary, marjoram, and cilantro)
-1 tbsp Moroccan spice mix (we like the one from Urban Accents)
-1 tbsp sea salt
-A few grinds black pepper
-Fresh cilantro, to serve (optional)
-Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium-size pot, then add 2 cups of buckwheat.
-Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, then remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
-Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan; add the onion, pepper, carrot, and celery.
-Saute for about 10 minutes, then add the eggplant and garlic.
-Saute for another minute or two, then add the ground meat, and stir well.
-Brown the meat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-Add the tomatoes, the wine, and the lemon juice.
-Cook down for about 25 minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked off.
-Stir in the remaining ingredients, except for the buckwheat.
-Cook for about 5 minutes, then stir in the buckwheat and cook for an additional minute.
-Remove from the heat and serve, garnished with some fresh cilantro if you like.