Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pirozhki - Lamb (or Boca) Filled Rolls

Pirozhki are a staple of Russian street food -- whether you're in a cafe, literally walking home from the metro station or at one of the many historic sights, there will be someone selling pirozhki. If I were preparing these for my friends I would use Boca Burger crumbles; if you want to make them authentic style, as my stepdad prefers, use lamb. Don't use beef or you won't get the real flavor.

If you do choose to use Boca crumbles, add 3-4 tbsp of oil to the pan before cooking the crumbles and 1/3 cup of mock chicken or beef broth to the mixture after the onions cook and before the cabbage goes in.

Ingredients for filling:

3/4 lb thawed Boca Burger crumbles or ground lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
2 small cabbages (size of softballs) or 1 large one, finely shredded
3 tbsp salt, or to taste
pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp dried dill

Dough and cooking:

1 packet yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4-5 cups all purpose flour
3 eggs
1 quart of oil

To begin, start with the dough. Dissolve the yeast into the water and set aside until frothy, about ten minutes. In this time, take a large skillet or pot and begin to cook the meat aspect. Once cooked, throw in the onions and seasonings. Get back to the dough and whisk in the liquid ingredients. Add the sugar and salt then the dry ingredients. Knead until smooth and elastic and set aside in an oiled bowl in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.

Once the dough is kneaded the onions should be thoroughly cooked. Add the cabbage and broth if necessary. Cover and allow to simmer for around half an hour, coming back frequently to stir so one side doesn't get burnt. Once the cabbage is tender, set aside to cool.

Once the filling is cooled the dough should be ready. Set the oil to heat to 375 degrees in a large pot. Flattening small handfuls at a time, wrap the dough around about 2 tablespoons of filling per roll and pinch the ends back together. They will want to pull apart once they hit the hot oil, so make sure you pinch thoroughly and reinforce any weak spots. Set aside on an oiled cookie sheet and repeat until all are done, or the first batch has been resting for approximately ten minutes. Slide them into the oil and cook until light golden brown, remove onto paper towels or another device to drain any excess grease. Repeat until they're all done. As with the pierogies, these can be frozen before frying for later cooking.

These are best served hot and on their own. Enjoy!

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