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Monday, August 16, 2010

Pelmeni - Russian Dumplings with Meat and Cabbage

The Daring Cooks August ‘10 Challenge called them Pierogi, but I believe that the original Russian name is Pelmeni :-)
Adapted from August 2010 Daring Cooks Challenge by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen
Taste 3 (out of 5)
Difficulty 5 (out of 5)
For the dough
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp salt
-  3/4 cup lukewarm water
For the filling
- 250 g cooked meat, minced or cut very finely
- 100 g sour kraut, drained
- 1/2 onion, diced and fried
- 1 cloves garlic
- 1 medium egg
- 1/2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper
If frying the dumplings
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 3 tsp butter
Total: 30 dumplings
1. Combine all the ingredients for the filling (it’s best to use one’s hands to do that) put into the bowl, cover and set aside in the fridge until you have to use it.
2. Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add the salt and a little lukewarm at a time (you might need from 1/2 to 1 cup water). Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough with a bowl or towel. You’re aiming for soft dough. Let it rest 20 minutes.
3. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (1/8” or about 3 millimeters) cut with a 2-inch (5 cm) round or glass (I used 4-inch/10 cm cutter and got around 30 of them and 1 full, heaped teaspoon of filling is perfect for that size). Spoon a portion (teaspoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough.
4. Bring a large, low saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop in the pelmeni, not too many, only single layer in the pan! Return to the boil and reduce heat. When the pelmeni rise to the surface, continue to simmer a few minutes more ( usually about 5 minutes). Remove one dumpling with a slotted spoon and taste if ready. When satisfied, remove remaining pelmeni from the water.
5. Serve immediately preferably with sour cream or fry. Cold pelmeni can be fried.  Boiled Russian pelmeni can be easily frozen and boiled taken out straight from the freezer.
- I have to admit that dumplings are not one of my very favorite foods, and in addition it always seemed way too much work. So I was glad to see this challenge, because it without it I never would have tried making dumplings from scratch :-).
- Maybe my dough was too hard, but it was just extremely difficult to roll out and it kept shrinking. As a result I think it was too thick compared to the amount of filling I managed to squeeze in. The only good thing about my dough was that it did not stick to the surface and the pin even without the flour. 
- Frying the dumplings in butter certainly helped improve the taste, but added an extra 1/2 hour and quite a few calories. 
- Overall, I probably spent 5 hours on these 30 dumplings, which makes it 10 minutes per dumpling (kneading the dough, rolling the dough, filling the dumplings, boiling and frying in batches, preparing the filling). And 2 days later my wrists still hurt from all the rolling :-). And I think the best part is the filling, anyway, which is really quick and easy to make. So why not just meatballs, and save all the extra work and calories from the dough? 
Blog-checking lines 
The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling.


Kara said...

LOL. I agree with you about the time consuming aspect. As I said in my post, this challenge just proved to me that I don't really enjoy the "fiddly" recipes. I could never be a caterer because I loathe taking the time to make individual appetizers. :) Good job on completing the challenge though!

Anna said...

I know pierogi aren't the easiest and fastest thing to do... but what a rewarding result! YOur look great!
Thank you for taking part this month!

Cheers. Anula.