Siberian Pelmeni

Sharon Hudgins


2cups all-purpose flour (divided use)
1/3cup water
2large eggs
1tablespoon vegetable oil
1teaspoon salt

Put 1 cup of the flour into a large bowl with the water, eggs, vegetable oil, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup of flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until all the flour is mixed in. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until the dough is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes). Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

¾pound mixed ground beef and ground pork
1medium onion, coarsely chopped
2large cloves garlic, quartered
¾teaspoon salt
½teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or hot paprika (optional)

While the dough is resting, process all the filling ingredients together in a food processor to make a fairly smooth mass. (Or put all the ingredients together through a meat grinder two or three times.) Cover the filling and refrigerate until you are ready to form the pelmeni.

NOTE: This recipe makes about 2 cups of filling—enough for 2 batches of pelmeni. Use half the filling for the amount of dough in this recipe, and freeze the remainder to use another time.

Spices for boiling dumplings:
1bay leaf
1teaspoon salt
10whole black peppercorns
5whole cloves
5whole allspice berries

Garnishes (take your pick):

¾ cup butter (for tossing the pelmeni before serving)

additional melted butter for the table

sour cream

hot-spicy mustard (such as Colman's)

white or cider vinegar

oriental chile sauce (Thai or Vietnamese)

soy sauce

Working with 1/3 of the dough at a time, roll dough out very thinly (1/16-inch thick) on a lightly floured surface. (Keep the remaining dough wrapped in plastic so it won't dry out.) Cut dough into circles with a 2-inch diameter round cookie cutter. Then roll out each circle of dough, individually, to make it a bit thinner (about 2-½ inches in diameter).

Place ½ teaspoon of the meat filling in the center of each circle of dough. Lightly moisten the edge of the dough with a little water, then bring the edges of the dough together to form a semi-circle (half-moon shape). Press the edges together firmly. Bring the pointed ends of each semi-circle together, overlapping them a bit, and press the ends together firmly, moistening them, if necessary, to stick together. (The pelmeni will look much like Italian tortelloni.) As you make the dumplings, place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or a clean dish towel. Continue this process until all the dough has been used. (Re-roll and cut the dough scraps, too.)

Fill a large stockpot 2/3 full with cold water. Add bay leaf, salt, peppercorns, cloves, and allspice. Place over high heat. When the water comes to a full boil, drop in about 20 pelmeni (but don't crowd the pot too much). Let the pelmeni boil very gently for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring them occasionally.

While the pelmeni are cooking, melt ¾ cup butter in a medium-size saucepan over low heat. Remove the cooked dumplings with a slotted spoon, drain well, transfer them to the saucepan, and toss them gently to coat with melted butter. Transfer the pelmeni to a large bowl and set them aside in a warm place.

Repeat this process, cooking the pelmeni in batches, until all the dumplings are cooked. Serve immediately, as a main course.

Put the desired number of pelmeni (usually about 15 to 20 dumplings) into individual shallow serving bowls. Let the diners garnish their pelmeni at the table, as they wish—with melted butter, sour cream, hot-spicy mustard, vinegar, soy sauce, or chile sauce.

NOTE: Bite-size pelmeni should be eaten whole. Russians consider it uncouth to cut the dumplings into pieces before popping them into your mouth.

Approximately 90 pelmeni (4 to 6 servings).

NOTE: Pelmeni can be made ahead of time and frozen until needed. Place freshly made, uncooked dumplings in a single layer, not touching each other, on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Freeze the pelmeni solid, then store them in a plastic bag in the freezer (up to 3 months). To cook, drop the frozen pelmeni directly into boiling water and proceed as in the recipe.

SOURCE: Sharon Hudgins, author of The Other Side of Russia: A Slice of Life in Siberia and the Russian Far East

Category: Meat