Sunday, March 10, 2013

PAST RECIPE: Savory Stuffed Kohlrabi

© Constantine William Spyrou

One of the cool things here that goes on here at Davis is the Green Chef challenge. Held at the Dining Commons every quarter for the past two years, students have the chance to show off their culinary skills and turn a vegetable from UC Davis' student farm into a stunning dish! There's no meat involved in the dish so it is very vegetarian-friendly. I've competed in this challenge twice so far, each time with some awesome friends from my hall (Ashley, Kirat, Hannah, Roy, and Rebekah, you guys rock! =) ). We've come away with winning the dish once, which should mean the dish should go up on the DC menu. The DC did do an extreme variation of our dish, but we did get credibility for what we did, so I'm happy.
The secret ingredient for our winning challenge was kohlrabi, this odd vegetable that has a massive fleshy white root like a radish or beet (purple skin too) and leaves that taste a bit like swiss chard. Our challenge was to turn this ingredient into a cool dish, and boy, did we deliver. Under a sous chef from Dining Services, we transformed this odd vegetable into a dish that wowed the judges and secured us the victory. That awesome recipe is featured below:

Recipe makes one dish.

For the Stuffed Kohlrabi:

2 kohlrabi roots, hollowed out and roasted lightly (350 degrees for about 12 minutes)
1 cup brown rice
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 ounces peas
1 ounce crushed garlic
2 ounces butter
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Panko breadcrumbs
Mozzerella and parmesean cheese, shredded/grated
2 ounces shaved red onion
1 ounce olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

For the Pesto:

4 ounces Kohlrabi leaves
4 ounces fresh basil
2 ounces walnuts or pinenuts
3 ounces Parmesean cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

For the Flatbread:

4 ounces pizza dough, rolled out into a circle
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano

For the Persimmons:

4 ounces roughly chopped persimmons
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Prebake the hollowed-out Kohlrabi roots using the above mentioned temp and time (350 F, 12 minutes.)
2. Combine the red onion, 1 ounce of oil, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Add the Kohlrabi leaves, basil, nuts, cheese, and salt and pepper to a blender. Begin to puree, and add the olive oil in slowly until fully incorporated and the pesto is creamy. Set aside.
4. Place 2 ounces of butter into a medium-high heat pan. Add the mushrooms and saute off with the garlic and seasonings for the Kohlrabi filling. Transfer to the rice, and mix well. Add the peas, then lightly mix so to not crush the peas.
5. When the Kohlrabi is done baking, let it cool so it can be handled, and fill each of the kohlrabi roots with the filling. Lightly sprinkle the panko, then the mozzarella and parmesean mixture over the kohlrabi. Bake at the same temperature for about another 10 minutes.
6. Roll out the pizza dough. Combine together the melted butter, minced garlic, and dried oregano, and lightly brush over the dough. Bake in a pizza oven for about 5 minutes, then cut into long strips.
7. In a medium heat pan, add the honey and let it start to reduce. Add the persimmons, lemon zest, and salt. Cook until the persimmons are coated in the honey and thoroughly candied, about 4-5 minutes.
8. Brush the pesto over the midline of your plate. Placed the stuffed kohlrabi on top, and garnish those with the marinated red onion. Place the candied persimmons on either corner of the plate, and add the strips of oregano flatbread.

The final dish should look something like this!

This is intended to be a full course meal on one plate, and it definitely accomplishes that. The judges gave us the victory by a commanding 30 points, so we were quite happy. If you can get a hold of kohlrabi, try making this at home, and tell me what you think! Enjoy! =) 

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