Saturday, February 22, 2014

Russian Beef Perogies (Cheburekis)

Have you ever tried Russian Perogies? I hadn’t until my daughter-in-law’s mother came to visit. It was great meeting her and finding out that we not only share a new grandson but also a love of cooking.

I don’t speak Russian and she doesn’t speak English, but that hasn’t stopped us from communicating. We use sign language, a cheat sheet of Russian basic words, and if that doesn’t work we run for Yulia, her daughter, to act as interpreter.

The morning after she arrived, I followed my nose downstairs to the aroma of ground beef, garlic, and onion simmering on the stove.

“What’s cooking?” I asked.
To which she replied, “Cheburekis,” and pointed to the skillet.

And so it began, we looked through the pantry and the refrigerator, smelling contents of jars and spice tins until we found everything she needed. I watched as she kneaded the simple dough, rolled it into circles and filled them with the meat mixture. Then she sealed the dough edges with a fork and dropped them into sizzling oil. My mouth was watering and I couldn’t wait to sample the turnovers.

Hot and juicy; the Cheburekis were delicious. This was a totally new breakfast addition to the menu. I never had ground beef for breakfast before, but it seems in the frozen north lands of Russia, they eat a lot of protein to keep warm. I made a bowl of fresh fruit and a cup of coffee—a perfect Russian breakfast or a camp out meal to never be forgotten. Thank you, Natasha, my new Russian friend.

                                                       Russian Perogies

Ingredients for dough:   

2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
2 cups flour
Extra flour to form stiff dough

2 tablespoons cooking oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup water
2 pound hamburger
1 egg
Cooking oil for frying

1. Beat eggs in a medium mixing bowl with salt and water. Add 2 cups of flour and mix with wire whip. Add more flour until stiff dough is formed. Knead dough for about 10 minutes. Cover with a dish towel and let rest until the meat is ready.

2. In a medium skillet, combine 2 tablespoons oil with onion and garlic, saute on medium heat until soft and light brown. Cool slightly and combine with  salt, pepper, water, and egg in medium mixing bowl. Mix in hamburger by hand then set aside.

Finish the dough by cutting it into16 balls about the size of biscuits. One at a time, flatten and roll each into a circle about 6 inches in diameter with a rolling pin. Spread hamburger mixture over dough leaving about ½ inch clear around edge. Fold in half and seal edges with fork tines. Turn each perogie over and seal other side then poke a few holes in it with a fork.

Pour one inch of cooking oil into large skillet on medium heat. Fry two Perogies at a time until brown and done, turning them half way through. Place on paper towels to absorb oil. Serve while warm with ample napkins—they are quite juicy.

Children can help you with this project especially when they get to knead bread. Just make sure an adult does all the work with heat.

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