Polish Style Meatballs with Buckwheat

Or Zrazy z Kasza Hreczana to give it it's Polish name.

Whichever language you refer to it in, it is pretty tasty! We ate it for dinner two nights running - the first night with buckwheat, and the second with mashed potatoes. I think I preferred the flavour of the buckwheat with the meatballs, but the mash was infinitely better at soaking up the gravy!

It was a really easy dish to prepare and assemble, particularly since the meatballs don't need to be browned first, meaning less manual labour, and one less pan to wash, which is always good.

Meatballs with Buckwheat (Serves 4-5)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 25g dairy free margarine
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 a slice of toast
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1litre beef stock (mine wasn't home made and it worked just fine)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 200g buckwheat
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 300ml boiling water
Preheat the oven to 170C (Fan 160C).
Chop the onion as finely as you can (otherwise you'll end up with misshapen meatballs).
Melt the margarine in a small frying pan, and cook the onion gently until golden brown.
Put the mince into a large bowl and break up a little with a spoon. Crack the egg in, add the cooked onion and mix well.
Grate the piece of toast to make breadcrumbs, then add it to the meat too, and mix it in. In order to get it thoroughly mixed you may need to mix it with your hands.
Roll the mixture into 12 table tennis ball sized meatballs.
Put the flour onto a saucer, and roll each meatball in it to coat, then place them into a casserole dish with a lid.
Whisk the tomato puree into the beef stock and pour over the meatballs.
Gently sprinkle the remaining flour on top of the mixture and give it a little stir, taking care not to break up the meatballs, which will be quite fragile at this stage.
Cover and cook for about half an hour, then remove the lid and cook for another half hour.
After you have uncovered the meatballs and returned them to the over for their second half hour, start to make the buckwheat.
Put the buckwheat into a medium saucepan, add the oil and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until the grains start to split.
Add a pinch of salt, and allow to cool for a moment before adding the 300ml boiling water, and returning to the heat.
Cook on low for about 15 minutes until the grains are tender. You may need to add a splash more water.
Take off the heat and allow to sit for a couple of minutes, then serve with the meatballs and gravy on top.

Hearty food for cold, wet, wintry days!