Sunday, July 31, 2011

[Russian] Meat Perushky / Perushki / Piroshki / Piroshki

The classic Russian meat pie. Note similarities with Potato Perushki (she spells them piroshky), but definitely not the same recipes. This will take 3-4 hours total, but with some pauses. This version is meat, baked. You can fry them but they are very greasy. The potato variant excels when fried, so bake this and fry that.

First, combine:
2 pk dry yeast (Active Dry is fine, Rapid Rise is not)
1.5-2.0 cups milk, at 95-100 degrees (too hot is BAD, you want roughly blood-temp)
1 tbl sugar
1 tbl flour
3/4 stick of butter or 1.5 stick margarine, room temp or melted.
Let sit 10-15 minutes, until bubbly or foamy or otherwise alive.

Beat together:
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk (save the white for the egg wash)
1.5 - 2.0 teaspoon salt (sorry, last time I made it it was flat, and that was either 1 or 1.5 tsp salt)

Sift 2 lb flour.

Mix yeast mixture, eggs, and 1 lb 13 oz of flour in mixer. Use the bread hook, low speed. Once it all comes together, add flour until slightly sticky (I used 1 cup).

Let rise until doubled.

Cut a 2-3 lb chuck roast into several hunks, trimming fat. Cover with water. Bring to boil then turn down to simmer for 60-90 minutes (this is to tenderize and break down). The time depends on the quality of the meat - better takes less time. To tell if done, poke with a knife: should fall off knife easily.

Once done, we grind it. On my kitchenaid stand mixer, I use the small grinding wheel, set the mixer on 3, and grind. Note that you can't just buy ground meat and cook it - the texture is totally different.

Dice 2-3 medium onions. Simmer in 2-3 tbl oil. On our electric stove we cook on 5-6 (out of 10), covereed, then turn down to 3.5 - 4.0. Stir occasionally - you're trying to clarify and brown. Cook about 60 minutes.

Now, combine the meat and onions. Add 1-2 tsp salt (very little), 1-2 tsp black pepper, and 1/2 cup (varies) of the broth from the meat. You want it to stick together a bit - when you scoop it you want it to clump.

Making the perushky:
For each perushky, pull off 24-26 grams of dough.
Two ways to make:
1) stretch out by hand
2) roll and cut
My grandmother stretches it out to a 3.25" circle, thinner at the edges. This is a little heavy on the bread for my taste, so I roll out with a rolling pin until about 3.5 - 4.0 inches around, then use the top of a 3.25" restaurant tumbler (do a Google image search - about 2.75 inches at the bottom and straight sides) to cut out a circle. When I weight it, it comes out to about 18g.

Now take this circle of dough, stretch it out a little, and immediately drop in a dollop of meat. I use a #70 disher - Baba uses a heaping tablespoon. Put this in the middle, then bring the sides together, forming a half-circle. Pinch down repeatedly to seal, squeezing hard with your fingers. Now flatten - put perpendicular to table, round side facing down, and push. It'll wind up as a small round object. Check for seam splits and close them.

Now do this about 100 times (takes about an hour). I wound up with extra meat & onion - add rice to this and you've got the filling for cabbage rolls (see recipe on this blog).

Now take the egg white you saved, whisk for 10-20 seconds with a fork. Using a brush, put this egg wash on the top - enhances browning. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

Since I didn't have enough baking trays, I made a tray, put on egg wash (see below), put in the oven, and started the next tray. Overall it took about an hour to make them. Enjoy!

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