#65: Russia – Pelmeni

This month has been pretty hectic so I found myself revisiting simple favorites for a portion of the month as I did some meal planning to dive back in to cooking the countries once life settled down a bit. Sometimes I go on a bit of a tear with cooking, and this weekend was one of those times. I cooked dishes from three countries in three days, filling my fridge with leftovers and making a mess of my kitchen. I’m going to spread these posts out for a bit, but I’ll start off with this Russian Pelmeni.

My experience in working with dough has been a bit limited and usually centered on doughs that do not require yeast or any sort of rise. Yes, they tend to be kneaded and sit out for a bit, but they don’t always see a rise (and I think in many of those instances, that is perfectly ok). This dough seemed to be in that same family. It reminded me of a empanada dough in its toughness (which is good since it holds a meat filling, albeit a small amount). Yet when it cooked (a simple 5 minute boil) it transformed into a pasta-like consistency. The recipe indicated that this should make 50-60 (!!!) little dumplings but I ended up with around 35. I lost a little steam along the way and some of the pieces of the dough (once I cut out 2 1/2 inch circles) didn’t really roll back out in the same way to make more. From what I’ve read, it’s tradition to make dozens and dozens of these at a time and to freeze them up for use whenever you need. But this was the perfect amount for the two of us paired with some soup and vegetables. These dumplings are filled with ground pork and onion and I served them in white vinegar and dill.

Recipe is courtesy of my Smitten Kitchen cookbook, but you can find other versions online. I will say, the recipe I used did not involve a pasta maker so it CAN be done, though I imagine the machine makes them look a little prettier and accomplishments a thinner dough.

Overall Level of Effort: 3

Skill Level: Intermediate

Would Make It Again? Yes

Additional Notes: These can serve a lot of masters. Do you like pasta or dumplings in your soup? Add this to a broth with some vegetables. Like something a bit more savory? Add some cheese and a little hot sauce (that’s a tip to Matt there). Another way of serving these which I read about was with sour cream and chives. The possibilities are endless.

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