Baking in clay pots is an old Russian tradition. I remember my babushka had a lot of these pots of all sizes, and she used them in a real Russian wood burning stove. The taste, the aroma of the dishes that came out of that stove could not be compared to anything cooked in modern gas ovens. Though, here is my little attempt to make another trip down the nostalgia road.
CLAY POT BUCKWHEAT AND VEGETABLES
- ¾ cups of uncooked buckwheat, washed
- 1 ½ cups of water
- ¾ teaspoon of salt
- 1 pint of mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 2 tbs mayonnaise or sour cream
- 1 medium eggplant
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 4 tbs olive oil
- 4 tbs Parmesan cheese
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sour cream and fresh dill for garnish
Yields: 3 ½ liter pots
Make eggplant paste: cut the eggplant in half and bake it (skin down) for 15 minutes at 400⁰F /200⁰C. Remove the skin and the stem. Place eggplant, tomatoes, olive oil, 3 tbs of parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Add a little water if necessary.
Make mushroom mixture: mix mushrooms, onion, marjoram, and mayo in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and mix again.
Assemble the pots: divide buckwheat between the clay pots (1/4 cup into each pot). Cover with water (1/2 cup of water into each pot), and add salt (1/4 tsp salt into each pot).
Layer the mushroom mixture on top of the water – some of the mushrooms will float, some not, it’s all fine.
Layer the eggplant paste on top.
Bake: Bake covered at 450⁰F/230⁰C for about 45 minutes. Take the lids off, sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese, and bake for 10 more minutes uncovered.
Serve with fresh dill and sour cream.
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