Monday, May 7, 2012

Around the World in 12 Dishes: Russia: Piroshki

This month we traveled to Russia and made Piroshki, which are basically small Russian pastries filled with finely chopped meat or vegetables.  I wasn't expecting to love these as much as I did, but these were very delicious!  The dough tasted like a doughnut and the meat was surprisingly seasoned perfectly to give it a great flavor.  In fact as we were rolling out the dough to fill it with meat, my kids were taking nibbles of the meat here and there.  They couldn't stop sneaking in bites!  Although it was a bit time consuming, we will definitely be making these again!

This recipe was adapted by Taylor's Piroshki recipe on Allrecipes.com.  It was modified a little based on reading the reviews.




Ingredients:

For the meat filling:

-1 1/2 lbs Ground beef
-1 Onion, finely chopped
-1 teaspoon Salt
-Ground black pepper to taste (I didn't add to much of this because my kids don't like a strong pepper taste)
-1 1/2 tablespoons Dried dill weed (I came up with this measurement based on reviews...it definitely made flavor pop)
-1/2 cup Beef stock (I added this based on reading the reviews complaining about dryness.  The added flavor was a benefit too)

For the dough:

-1 (.25 ounce) Package active dry yeast
-1/4 cup Warm water
-1 cup Milk
-3 Eggs
-1/2 cup Vegetable oil
-2 tablespoons Granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon Salt
-4 cups All-purpose flour

For cooking:

-3 cups Oil for frying
-Thermometer


Directions:
First cook the ground beef until brown and drain. Stir in the onion and cook with the beef until translucent. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon salt,  1 1/2 Tablespoons dill weed and pepper to taste.


Set the meat mixture aside and allow it to cool completely.



Next dissolve the package of yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water and place in a warm location until frothy (about 10 to 15 minutes).


In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm the 1 cup of milk and gently whisk in the 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat.




Place half the flour (2 cups) in a large mixing bowl and gradually stir in the milk mixture.



Then add the yeast solution alternately with the remaining flour (2 cups), stirring after each addition. Mix well.


Knead until the dough forms a ball and does not stick to the bowl. (Note: Start with the 4 cups of flour. You may need to add more, a little at a time, as you knead the dough).



 Cover the bowl with a clean cloth, then set in a warm location and allow to rise until it doubles in volume.


Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured surface.  (Please note that we rolled our dough out differently from original recipe).  I mainly did it this way after reading a suggestion from one of the reviews I read...I wanted to make these smaller because if they are made too big, some people complained of the dough not being cooked thoroughly inside.

Have the kids help roll out the dough.


Then use a cup to cut out little circles.





Add 1/2 cup of beef broth to the meat mixture and mix well.  Then fill the center of each disk with the cooled meat mixture.

Fold disks over the mixture and firmly pinch edges to seal. Arrange on a flat surface and allow to sit approximately 10 minutes.  (Don't lay them on top of each other like I did...I was trying to save space...but they will stick to each other)



In an large, heavy skillet or deep fryer, heat 3 cups of oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). (we used a thermometer)  Deep fry the piroshki in batches until golden brown on one side; gently turn and fry the other side. Remove and let drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

Wait until it has cooled a little, and ENJOY!  These were delicious!!  We are definitely going to make these again.  I fried these because that's how it was intended to be made...however next time we are going to bake ours like some reviewers suggested.  One recommended baking these at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes, and another suggested 425 degrees for 10 minutes.


Thumbs up by my son!