Shhh…A Russian Grandmother’s Secret Pirozhki Recipe You Must Try

Shhh…A Russian Grandmother’s Secret Pirozhki Recipe You Must Try

My husband is a foodie, but not in a pretentious way.  He simply loves good food.  This is not why I married him, but let’s just say that it didn’t hurt.  At times my husband will send me a recipe he finds with the subject line like “this sounds good,” “you should try this,” or “maybe we should try this over the weekend.”  This one came with the subject line “this is from my co-worker.”  Some recipes I read and never make; some I encourage him to try; and others, the real solid ones, I make.  This is one of those.

This is a recipe for Pirozhki, (sometimes referred to as Piroshki), oval Russian hand pies that are made from a yeast dough that has been stuffed with a filling like cabbage, mashed potatoes, mushrooms or ground beef. Pirozhki can also be stuffed with fish, cottage cheese or a variety of sweet fillings such as fresh or stewed fruit. Pirozhki are sometimes mistaken for pierogi, which are of Central and Eastern European origins and are savory- or sweet-filled thin-skinned dumplings that can be boiled or fried and are traditionally served with sour cream and fried onions.

This recipe was passed on to my husband’s co-worker by his Russian great-grandmother.  That right there made me want to make this recipe: it’s legit.  Some of the best food comes handed down from generation to generation.  Many of the very best recipes are never even written down, but are instead passed down by families cooking together.  This recipe was based on a translated conversation that was then e-mailed to my husband.  I did my best to distill this Russian recipe down to something any of us can make at home.

Pirozhki

I can tell you this recipe is delicious.  Even with the suggested shortcut (which I was slightly dubious about), the Pirozhki were tasty and the crust came out fluffy.  I made the classic cabbage filling as well as a ground beef one; I loved them both for different reasons.  Both filling recipes are listed below. What I did not try was a filling that included both cabbage and ground meat; I may try that next time.  In terms of the outside, my husband had expected these to be a bit more dumpling-like, similar to a pierogi; but they were not. I would compare them to an empanada, but with a biscuit-style dough.

Pirozhki
Cabbage filling
Pirozhki
Ground beef filling
Pirozhki
Biscuit dough rolled out to 5-inch circles

I was told to use a pre-made store-bought yeast dough or flaky biscuit dough, so I used Annie’s Organic Flaky Buiscut Dough which you can find in the refrigerator section.  If you wish to be adventurous, check out this link to a New York Times article on Pirozhki that includes other options.  At first glance, this recipe may appear a bit involved, but if you are not making your own dough, it really isn’t.  Buying pre-shredded cabbage will also help cut down on prep time if you are making that version.  You can also make this in advance refrigerate and bake them off right before dinner, making these are great make-ahead option for a busy evening.

Pirozhki
Dough rounds that have been filled, sealed and formed into Pirozhki

Savory Pirozhki

October 1, 2017
: 8
: 30 min
: 25 min
: 55 min
: medium

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Cabbage Filling:
  • 1bag shredded white cabbage (or ½ cabbage head)
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • For the Beef Filling:
  • 1 pound organic ground beef
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • For the Dough:
  • 1 package organic, flaky biscuits (I used Annie’s organic brand)
  • 2 egg yolks, for the egg wash
Directions
  • Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly grease and set aside.
  • Step 2 For the Cabbage Filling: Fill a stock pot with 8 cups of water, place over high heat and bring to a boil. When boiling, add the cabbage and turn off the heat. Allow to sit for about 8-10 minutes to soften. Drain in a colander and rinse well to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  • Step 3 Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and when hot, but not smoking, add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally and cook till starting to brown about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  • Step 4 In a large mixing bowl add the drained softened cabbage, sautéed onions, hardboiled egg, dill, salt and pepper. Mix well to incorporate and set aside.
  • Step 5 For the Ground Beef Filling: Sauté the ground beef in 1 tablespoon oil till browned and thoroughly cooked. Drain the beef in colander and place the sauté pan back over the heat. Add the chopped onion and cook per the above instructions.
  • Step 6 In a large mixing bowl add the cooked beef, sautéed onions, hardboiled eggs, dill, salt and pepper. Mix well to incorporate. Set aside.
  • Step 7 For the Dough: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one biscuit making a 5-inch round circle. Place a generous scoop of the filling you made (either cabbage or ground beef) in the middle of the dough. Make sure you have used enough filling, but do not overstuff it.
  • Step 8 Using your hands, carefully fold the dough over the filling, making a half circle. Pinch the edges together and pick up the Pirozhki. Working from one end to the other, firmly pinch the edges of the dough together creating a seal. Place on the prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Using the palm of your hand, lightly tap the Pirozhki to even out the filling. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Make sure to give the Pirozhki space on the baking sheet as they will puff up.
  • Step 9 Using a pastry brush, lightly brush each Pirozhki with egg yolk.
  • Step 10 Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, turning the baking sheet once mid-way through, till the Pirozhki are golden brown and firm to the touch.
  • Step 11 Allow to cool slightly before serving.
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