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!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

[Russian] Olga's Pork Stew

(yes, there's a lot of commentary in this recipe. You've never made this before, so you don't know how long or why things are done a certain way).

2 lb boneless country-style pork ribs
5-6 medium russet potatoes
1 large onion
2 medium carrots (can use baby carrots, though they take longer to cook than sliced carrots)
2-3 cups frozen/fresh green beans, cut or frenched. Or, one 1 can cut green beans
1-2 cups water

First, chop onion and simmer with 2-3 tablespoons butter. Let simmer until golden brown or mahogany. On my electric stove we put it on a 5 (out of 10) on a small burner and stir frequently. You're not trying to burn or blacken them. Let this cook while you prep everything else. Once brown turn off, though this usually happens about the time we're ready for them below.

Cut the meat into bite sized pieces, removing the big hunks of fat.

Fry the meat in a regular size pot (under 8 quarts) with 1 tablespoon oil, until light brown. You want color and browning to add flavor. We cook this on a 4-5 on the stove.

Add water so that the meat is just barely covered (let it at least hit the halfway point on the meat, better if it's just covered) and let simmer 30 minutes. If you're losing too much water, add some more - you're using the simmering to break down and tenderize the meat, as well as to put out flavor that'll go into the veggies.

While it's simmering, peel potatoes and cut into cubes (on a good-sized russet I usually quarter and slice about .5 inches thick). Peel & slice the carrots. Thaw the green beans.

After the 30 minutes, add the potatoes, onions, carrots, and fresh/frozen beans (if from a can, add when the potatoes have finished). Simmer and stir occasionally - the potatoes will break down, that's fine.

Once the potatoes are cooked, stir in 1 8-oz can of tomato sauce. At this point, cook 10-20 minutes further, stirring every 2-3 minutes. The potatoes will break down, and that's fine - that's our thickener that turns this into a stew.

After the 10-20 minutes, see if all the vegetables are cooked. Once they are, serve. If

[Cooking] Gumbo! Mama Saucier's Super Gumbo

My wife's family's recipe. And it's pronounced Sew-shay (sew as in needle and thread).

Yes, not baking. That's coming after this one.

Mama Saucier's Super Gumbo
Bring 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts to a boil in a fair-sized (8-quart, fill halfway with water) pot. When done set aside.

Mix in a bowl:
1 Cup of Tony Chachere's Instant Roux Mix
2 Cans room temperature chicken broth (not from the above pot, just normal size cans of low-sodium chicken broth)

In a Very Large Stock Pot (3-4 gallons+)
Melt 2 sticks of butter
1 "head" (stalk bunch) of Celery, sliced, just the main green part of the stalk. If you don't like the taste of celery, slice fine.
1.5 large yellow/1015 onions (diced)
2 Green Bell Pepper (diced)
3-4 minced garlic pods (aka toes or cloves - not the entire head!), can use from jar.

Once sauteed to softened, add & stir in:
Chicken broth from boiled chicken
3 cans of cut up/diced/mashed tomatoes (regular 14oz cans)

Bring to a boil then add:
Chicken breasts (don't bother cutting up)
1 tblsp Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning (add more if needed in 20-30 minutes. If too spicy-hot, add more canned tomatoes or tomato juice)
3 16-oz packages of frozen cut okra (3 pounds total, yes)

Let slowly simmer 3-4 hours (note below instructions). Stir constantly.
After the first 2 hours, add:
4-5 lbs smoked tube beef (sausage) or pork sausage cut into bite-sized pieces. These WILL swell, so slice more thinly than you would if panfrying or whatnot - maybe .25 inches, no more than .5 inches thick.

If things stick to the bottom, LEAVE THEM. It's burned by the time you notice and scraping them off the bottom will just ruin the gumbo - it'll be a burned-tasting mess. So leave it and you're fine (well, until cleanup).

10 minutes before serving (about the time to put the bread in the oven) bring to a boil (stir constantly at this point!) and put in 3 lbs shrimp. Turn down to slow boil, since you can easily scorch the entire pot at this point.

Serve over rice.

Note that if you want recognizable meat or veggies, add additional amounts along with the shrimp. Overall, the chicken will turn into little white strings, the veggies dissolve - basically, the only recognizable bits in the gumbo will be the sausage and shrimp, and if you added the sausage at the beginning, that's dissolved, too.

Any questions?