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Beef and Cheese Pirozhki

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пирожки с мясом и сыром

That is Pirozhki S Myasom I Syrom, and I could be wrong, and often am with Russian words, but it should translate to “pies with meat and cheese”.

Don’t ask me to pronounce that, I would embarrass myself, like usual.

A good description.

This is a fairly easy recipe, with no hard to find ingredients. Unlike normal pie dough, the dough for this uses yeast.

Beef and Cheese Pirozhki

1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk 360 ml
1 tbsp     active dry yeast 9 g
1 tbsp     sugar 13 g
1 tsp      salt 5 g
1/4 cup    melted butter 56 g
1 large    egg
4 cups     all-purpose flour 500 g

Dissolve the sugar into the milk with a whisk. Sprinkle in the yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes.
Add the salt, butter, and egg and beat well for a minute or two.
Slowly add the flour, and knead until the dough is a solid, smooth ball.
Cover and let it is raise until doubled, about an hour.

1 lb Ground Beef 450 g

Brown the beef in a frying pan. Drain the fat, this is critical or the dough will get soggy. Set aside to cool.

1/2 or 1 large onion
2 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese 250 g
1 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
2 tsp salt 10 g
1 tsp ground black pepper 5g
1 tsp garlic powder

Shred or finely chop the onion and place in a large bowl. Add the cheese and spices and cooked ground beef.
Stir well

After the dough has doubled, cut it into 16 equal sized pieces. Or if you have a 5 inch (12.7 cm) dough cutter, cut in half and roll out.

Around this time heat up 6 cups of grapeseed oil in a pan to 350 F (177 C), a deep cast iron frying pan works great.

Roll the small pieces out into a circle, approximately 5 inches wide (12.7 cm), place 1/2 cup of the mixture in the middle of the circle.

Spread the mixture out in the center and fold the dough over the top on opposite sides and pinch it together.

It must be tightly pinched, very important!

It should look oval-ish, sort of like an American football.

Once all of the pies are done and the oil is heated, place 2-3 pies in the oil for 3-5 minutes, with tongs.

Turn every minute or two to get the dough to a golden brown.

Remove and place on paper towels and cover with paper towels to absorb excess oil

For my taste, a whole onion is a bit much.

I used soft, imported Italian mozzarella cheese, since American cheese from the dairy section is pretty poor, but should work okay. This cheese is a bit tough to grate because it is so soft but it does not melt into an oily, thin mess.

I have it on really good authority that Russian cheeses are very bad, so even if you can get it, avoid it. Although, I question if it is worse than normal dairy case cheese in the US.

Canola oil can also be used, it is cheaper but far less healthy. Things cooked in grape seed oil taste much cleaner.

This turned out really well and paired it with a nice salad and buckwheat soup.

This is the first time I have made anything Russian and I have to say I was pleased, although this recipe makes a lot. I am refrigerating the uncooked extras to keep the dough from rising. After taking it out an hour, it should cook up great. Edit: it did!

There are many other possible fillings, from around the world, worth exploring later on. As for other traditional fillings, I have seen buckwheat, cottage cheese and dill, chicken and mushrooms, the possibilities seem endless. As long as the filling is not filled with liquid, it should work well.

Pro-tip: Don’t chop your finger off while chopping the dill like I did.

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