My father immigrated to the U.S. when he was just a toddler. His mother quickly and permanently adopted the language and customs of their new country wholeheartedly leaving the old far behind.
The one and only exception is food. A few times a year she would spend the day in the kitchen preparing a feast that would last only a few minutes. Pelmeny is my favorite of those dishes, served in a simple butter broth.
This year with the Winter Olympics hosted in Sochi Russia, my family is finally celebrating our heritage. In lieu of tangible Christmas Gifts, my brothers and I spent a day together preparing a Russian Feast. We spent 9 wonderful hours working in my mother’s kitchen getting the meal ready to freeze. We will pull it out again on February 7th and watch the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Games.
My Grandmother would say, the Pelmeny should look like a baby’s bottom. My mother refers to the shape as a baby’s bonnet. I’m not sure if the description is a difference in translation or a difference in perception. They both seem pretty accurate to me.
Our recipe is adapted from my Grandmother’s cookbook. A printable version of our recipe is below. If you enjoy reading cookbooks you will love this one. Here’s an excerpt from the pelmeny recipe: Every housewife in Siberia always makes a lot of these little meat turnovers during the cold winter months. Some are cooked and eaten right away, but others are hung in a bag outdoors to freeze stiff. Frozen, they keep for weeks, can be taken on journeys or hunting expeditions, and are said to better than ever when defrosted and cooked after a long glacial wait.
“Na zdorovye!” (To you health!)
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 large white onion
- 3 tbsp water
- Salt & Pepper
- Dough Recipe
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ water
- Mix filling ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Sift flour and salt together.
- Add yolks and water into flour to make a stiff paste.
- Knead well. Let rest 1 hour.
- Roll as thin as possible without tearing. A pasta maker works well too.
- Use round 3 inch cookie or biscuit cutters to cut the dough.
- Put one heaping teaspoon in the center of each circle.
- Moisten edges with an egg white. Fold in half. Pinch firmly. Fold outer edges together to make a tiny bundle.
- Freeze hard.
- Cook in boiling water for 15 minutes or until they float. Strain and serve with butter in a warm dish.