Cocktail parties are always fun. Tasting little bite-sized foods that are easy to nibble on while sipping Champagne or elaborately mixed cocktails, sets a fun, festive setting. I like to make mini knishes for a group gathering when the cocktails are pouring because they’re hearty and filling for a small bite. These knishes are made with a kasha filling instead of the typical potato filling. The kasha offers a nice balance to other bites on your cocktail menu such as mini latkes topped with smoked salmon or stuffed mushrooms.
Kasha is another name for buckwheat groats – a high-fiber, gluten-free grain that has a great nutty flavor. Growing up, we would eat Kasha Varnishkes, a dish of Eastern European decent was is Kasha with sautéed onions and bowtie pasta. While heavy it may be, it is a lip-smacking comfort food – definitely saved for the 15% splurges of Hellbent Living. The only other times I ate kasha as a kid was as a filling in knishes.
I tried making the kasha knishes using the Einkorn flour, but the dough didn’t hold up. So, instead this recipe uses regular flour, which has the elasticity needed for rolling in the stuffing. The dough is a basic oil pastry that doesn’t require kneading and can be rolled out using the heel of your palm or a rolling pin. Each portion of the dough gets rolls out to about 11″ by 4″.
The kasha filling is simply kasha cooked in chicken stock or water, with sautéed onions mixed in, and seasoned with salt and pepper. You have to make the filling first so it is cool enough to handle. I mound the the kasha on the dough about 1/2″ form the edge and it takes up about 1.5″ of space.
Then you roll the filling pushing the stuffing in to the roll to form a log. There is a lot of filling, so some may fall out as you roll.
Using a pizza cutter, cut each log into pieces that are about 1″ wide. You will get about 10 or so pieces per log. The sides of the cut pieces will be open. With your fingers, pinch the dough together to create closed packets.
I serve the kasha knishes the same way as potato knishes with some hearty mustard in the side for dipping. Though I prefer to eat them plain. You can freeze the cooked knishes for advanced party planning.
Mini Cocktail Kasha Knishes
2 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 cup kasha
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock or water
1 large onion cut in half and then thinly sliced
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg plus 1 teaspoon of water
To make the filling: add the kasha to a bowl and add an egg to coat. Place the kasha into a heavy pot and heat until the kasha separates and the egg dries up. Then add the stock or water, and simmer with a closed lid for about 20 minutes until the kasha is cooked through. You may need extra water or stock, if the kasha is not cooked through, but try not to add more liquid than you need. In a separate pan, fry up the onions in 1/2 cup of vegetable oil with a pinch of salt and pepper until lightly browned. When kasha and onions are done, mix together, season with salt and pepper to taste and let cool.
To make the dough: add the oil, water, salt to a bowl then add the flour. Mix with a work or your hands until the flour is all incorporated into a dough. Wrap in plastic and let sit on counter for 45 minutes.
To assemble the knishes: Divide the dough into quarters. Roll out one quarter at a time on a floured surface to about 11″ x 4″. Add a mound of kasha filling about 1/2″ from the edge lengthwise to span about 1″ high on the dough. Roll the filling into the dough length-wise to form a log. Cut the log into 1 inch pieces with a pizza cutter. Seal the sides of each knish with your fingers. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the knishes with the egg wash. Place in pre-heated oven for 25 minutes, until the bottoms get a bit browned.
Makes about 40 mini knishes.