a journal of tea-inspired foods and recipes
The first time I had a roasted grain tea was several years ago at The Slanted Door in San Francisco. It was a roasted barley tea, and it was a surprisingly flavorful and refreshing way to end a fabulous Vietnamese-inspired meal.
My friend, Allison, with whom I had that cup of roasted barley tea, recently shipped me a bag of roasted buckwheat tea from the Harney & Sons tea shop in Manhattan.
The buckwheat is even better than the barley tea I remember from The Slanted Door. When steeped, the roasted buckwheat is rich and malty and has a toasty sweetness to it. (Buckwheat is technically a seed, not a grain like barley, but it has a similar style to a roasted grain tea.)
While I was searching around for something to do with a beautiful bunch of turnips from the farmer’s market, I found an easy and interesting braising recipe on Epicurious.com.
I adapted the recipe to braise the turnips in buckwheat tea instead of water, and I added the steeped buckwheat to the poppy seed bread crumbs that finish the dish. Oh, and I threw in the turnips’ greens at the last minute.
These turnips make for a light but satisfying vegetarian meal. They would also be great as a side with grilled or roasted meats.
Happy cooking and sipping!
(Adapted from the Braised Turnips with Poppy-Seed Bread Crumbs recipe on Epicurious.com.)
Makes about 4 servings
1 ½ cups water
2 heaping teaspoons roasted buckwheat (dry)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 lbs medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 to 2 cups turnip greens (or other hearty greens, like mustard, dandelion, or collard), roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup fine bread crumbs from a fresh and crusty bread, like a ciabatta or baguette
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
steeped buckwheat from the turnips recipe
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Boil the water, pour it over the roasted buckwheat, and steep, covered, for 5 minutes. Strain, and save both the tea liquid and the steeped buckwheat.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the turnips, buckwheat tea liquid, lemon juice, and salt to the skillet, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
3. Increase heat to medium, stir the turnips, and briskly simmer, uncovered, until all of the liquid has evaporated and turnips are just tender, and slightly brown and caramelized in spots, about 20 to 30 minutes. Turnips should be cooked through, but still retain their shape. You’ll want to keep checking on them. Just before the liquid has completely evaporated, place the greens on top of the braising turnips, and allow the greens to wilt. Stir gently to combine once the liquid has evaporated.
4. While the turnips are braising, prepare the bread crumbs. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 1 minute. Add the bread crumbs, poppy seeds, and steeped buckwheat, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
5. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the braised turnips when you’re ready to serve. This dish is best served warm, but it’s still nice and flavorful at room temperature.