yesterday, i wrote about honey cake, the dessert we ate at this weekend’s russian dinner party. now onto the main squeeze, the pelmeni, or russian dumplings.

pelmeni, or russian dumplings | things i made today

like many other types of dumplings, they have a thin dough on the outside and a delicious treat on the inside. the recipe is a russian classic, although i am sure there are slight variations amongst different regions or even families. if you’ve ever wanted to explore a culture’s food, you should always start with the dumplings. i’m not the only one that feels this way–in fact, npr dedicated a whole week to dumplings this summer to prove this exact point.

pelmeni, or russian dumplings | things i made today

to make pelmeni, you can work with a special pelmeni mold, or you can do things by hand. for this occasion, we did both. the dough and filling were exactly the same but the size and structure vary quite drastically. regardless, both types of dumplings taste delicious, so don’t feel intimidated or discouraged if you don’t own or want to buy the mold.

pelmeni, or russian dumplings | things i made today

pelmeni, or russian dumplings | things i made today

pelmeni, or russian dumplings | things i made today

pelmeni, or russian dumplings | things i made today

the filling is a combination of ground beef, ground pork, onions, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. literally the most basic ingredients there are. we had the pleasure of working with very fresh onions, so our filling also contained tears.

pelmeni, or russian dumplings | things i made today

the dough is a simple flour, egg, and water mixture. you can make it by hand or take a shortcut with a food processor (which is clearly what i did). then, you put the filling in the dough, bring them to a boil, top with vinegar and sour cream, and eat until you’re full. how does that sound?

pelmeni, or russian dumplings | things i made today

Pelmeni
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon salt, plus more for boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ – ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 medium onions
  • ½ lb ground beef
  • ½ lb ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 peppercorns
  • sour cream, to serve
  • vinegar, to serve
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, pulse together flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Add in eggs and pulse. Add in water, ¼ cup at a time, until dough forms. Dough should be tough and elastic. Knead with your hands for 3-4 minutes. Place dough in a bowl coated with a little bit of olive oil and cover with a damp towel. Let dough sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In the food processor, puree the onions. Transfer to large bowl and mix with meat, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.
  3. Once dough is ready, cut into quarters. Place three of the pieces back into the bowl and cover. Take the remaining piece of dough and roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/16 of an inch.
If using pelmeni mold:
  1. Place dough over pelmeni mold so there some overhang. Scoop ½-1 teaspoon of meat filling into each space. Roll out a second layer of dough and place on top of filling. Using a rolling pin, roll over the mold until the pelmeni are separated (you may need to pick them out manually if they don't fall out when you flip the mold over).
  2. Repeat with the remaining dough, including the scrap pieces.
If making by hand:
  1. Using a glass or cookie cutter, cut out circles with a 2 inch diameter. Take the scraps and return them to the bowl with the remaining dough. Scoop ½-1 teaspoon of meat into the center of each circle. Using your fingers, pinch the dough closed, making sure that the meat stays in the center of the dumpling. Repeat with the remaining dough, including the scrap pieces.
For both methods:
  1. Once you’ve sealed your pelmeni, put them into the freezer on a baking tray for at least ½ an hour. Note: transfer to an air tight container once frozen if you want to store them for longer.
  2. To cook, bring heavily salted water to a boil. Add in a bay leaf and peppercorns for taste. Drop pelmeni into water in batches, making sure not to overcrowd them. Cook until the dumplings float. Transfer them to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
  3. Serve immediately with some vinegar and sour cream (about 1 teaspoon of each, but it’s a personal preference).

 

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