These simple meat-filled rolls are a family favorite and a tradition that has been passed down for generations. A few basic ingredients and a little TLC come together to create comfort food that will remind you of Grandma’s cooking.
Every culture seems to have it’s own version of meat wrapped in bread. Latin Americans have empanadas, Asian countries steam or fry dumplings, Germans feast on bierocks, and America has…well, pigs in a blanket. I grew up eating a Russian variation of the ubiquitous meat-roll, called Piroshki. They’re super basic, and that’s why I always loved them as a child–and why my kids love them now.
Piroshki are comfort food in my family. I’ve written before about my Russian grandmother’s recipes and the love of food she passed down to her posterity. Eating these on a cool fall day (by the way, the high here is supposed to be 52 today! When did that happen?) warms me right up and makes me feel like I’m home again.And I’m aching for home a little right now. We just got back from a week-long trip to California to visit my parents, and we had a marvelous time. There is something wonderful about watching your kids play in the places you played as a child and letting them see your roots…and theirs. I want my boys to understand where they came from–their family’s history–and I hope that foundation will in some way help them become the kind of men I hope they’ll become.
Traditions are important. Whether it’s in a place your visit, or a song you sing, or a recipe that you enjoy together, it’s important to remember our past. So, today I share a little piece of my history with you. Enjoy, and may it inspire you to revisit your own roots and traditions, too.
Notes: You can simplify this recipe by using frozen roll dough if you want. That’s usually how we did it growing up, although now I usually make my dough from scratch. Also, the Piroshki I had growing up had chopped hard-boiled egg inside along with the onion and meat, but I’m not a fan, so I omit it. Chef’s prerogative!
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp yeast
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 cup onion (about half of a small onion)
- 1/2 tsp. garlic
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- To make the roll dough, combine all ingredients in bread machine and use the dough setting. Done! If you don’t have a bread machine (I didn’t have one until a couple of years ago, and it still worked great), you can combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well, and knead for several minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add a little extra flour if necessary. Let rise for an hour or until doubled.
- To make the filling, combine meat and onion in skillet and cook over medium heat, until the onions are translucent and the beef is browned. Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Drain the grease.
- Once the dough is ready, pull off golfball-sized pieces of dough (if you have a food scale, mine are usually between 2 and 2 1/2 ounces). Flatten the dough in your hand (think like you’re making a mini pizza), and scoop about a tablespoon of filling into the middle of the dough. Fold up the sides and pinch closed. Adjust shape to be an oval-shape. Place seam size down on a greased (or parchment-lined) cookie sheet. Continue with all the dough until you have used up all the ingredients. You should end up with about 18 piroshki.
- Cover piroshki with a tea towel, and let rise a second time for about 20-30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on top.
- Remove from oven, brush with a little melted butter if you want to get really fancy, and serve!
Source: my Russian grandmother
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