Freshly cooked Pelmeni, Russian dumplings with ground beef and onion.
A Russian friend of mine started talking about these dumplings and my curiosity and appetite grew stronger to try this Russian style comfort food. The dough and the filling are so simple to make. Grab a friend or two or three or more to help with the assembly, it will be fun and much faster. I grabbed the helping hands of my husband who was so nice to assist me in making these while watching the World Series game from the kitchen!
1 cup warm water
1 tsp of salt
3 1/2 cups of flour plus more to create a soft dough and for rolling out the dough
Place the two eggs in a stand mixer, beat and add water and salt to combine. Slowly add flour while mixing little by little until it does not appear to be sticky anymore. Flour hands and board/counter. Take the dough out and knead with flour until dough no longer sticks to hands. Use as little flour as needed as dough should be very soft and pliable not hard and stiff. This is a much softer dough than a pizza dough, it should feel soft and silky and almost velvety smooth to the touch. (Note: If you do not have a stand mixer this can be done by hand by making a well of flour and putting the wet ingredients in the middle slowly incorporating the outside flour until combined as directed). Once dough is kneaded to the correct consistency place in bowl and cover to rest for 20-30 minutes. As a side note, the smell of this dough is incredible! Meanwhile, make the meat filling.
1 lb. uncooked beef, ground
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
See if your butcher will grind the meat and the onion together for you to save the work. If not here are two other alternatives:
If your meat is already ground by the butcher, place your onion in a food processor and process until liquidized. In separate mixing bowl or stand mixer place the uncooked ground beef, onion, salt and pepper and mix until well incorporated and you can no longer see the onion.
If your meat is not ground, grind it in a meat grinder or a food processor until all ingredients together till blended. You should not see the onion. If you do not have a food processor, pulverize/blend the onion and then add it to the uncooked ground beef with the seasonings, mix well to incorporate.
Cut a half or a third of the dough and roll it out on a floured board to about 1/8 inch thickness. Use a 2 or 3 inch glass or cutter and cut out circles of dough. Keep rolling remaining dough out until all circles are cut and scraps are used. Place 1/2 to 1 tsp of uncooked meat filling in the bottom center of the circle and fold dough over to make a half circle by tightly pinching the edges to close. Take the left corner of the half circle and connect it to the right corner of the half circle to make a flat circle and pinch the two sides together.
Place finished Pelmeni on a sheet tray and freeze any unused Pelmeni. Cook the desired amount in boiling water about 5 minutes, till they rise to the top. Drain. Serve with sour cream, butter, salt, pepper. I love to eat them with just a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Frozen Pelmeni will take a bit longer to cook than fresh. Enjoy!