Posted by Sara on Dec - 21 - 2013 under Main Dishes

For the meat filling
1 pound ground lamb or beef
1 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground chicken
3 onions, grated, with the juice
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

For the dough
4-6 cups flour
1 egg
2 + cups cold water
1-2 teaspoons salt plus more for boiling
freshly chopped dill, butter and sour cream for serving

Cooking time: A lot Serving: A lot people

You know this dish by many names: pierogi, wonton, vareniki, ravioli and of course: pelmini! Most likely, pelmini originated in Siberia. The word pelmini probably comes from the Komi word (an indigenous people from the Ural Mountains)  “pelnyan” which means, “bread ear” referring to the ear shape of this Russian style dumpling.

A few weekends ago my friend, the lovely, talented, and VERY patient Anastasia and her wonderful and helpful husband Rashid, allowed me to make a small disaster in their new self-designed kitchen (sorry, sorry, sorry!).IMG_1473

They gave me the basic recipe and kept me on course to experience the traditional way of making pelmini. Soon it turned into an all-out pelmini PARTY. The more time rolled on, the more pelmini we rolled out. We even got Rashid’s way cool son-in-law Lee to roll out the dough for the tired, tired girls. Then more people showed up, and they started digging in and helping us to roll, cut, fill and shape. It was a monumental effort, but in the end, we all felt a serious sense of accomplishment. Anastasia graced me with her amazing photographic and artistic talents to document the entire operation. It’s really not that difficult, and I personally think that getting a group of willing victims participants to help out in the process makes for a very interesting and fun dinner party.

So, where shall we begin? It’s sort of a long process, which was made a heck of a lot longer by the need to photograph every step. Here goes:


Step #1: Pulverize the onions so they look like this.


Step #2: Mix the onions, meat, salt, pepper and parsley together.



Step #2 MIX THROUGHLY (Thank you Rashid!)

Step #2.2 MIX THROUGHLY (Thank you Rashid!)

Step #2.3: Cover and set aside.

Step #2.3: Cover and set aside.


Step #3 Start to prepare the dough; pour about 4 cups of flour into a little mountain.


Step #3.1: Crack an egg into the hole of the “mountain”. Sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of salt.


Step #3.2: Slowly add cold water to the flour/egg mixture, a tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly between additions.


Knead, mix, knead, mix


The dough will start to resemble this. Keep kneading until it is smooth and elastic. This is hard work!


Step #3.3: Divide the dough in half. Cover one half of the dough in plastic wrap or a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.


Step #4: Enlist the help of your local bodybuilder to help you roll out the dough. (Thank you Lee!) Tragically, there are no photos of our muscle man helping us to do this.


The dough must be VERY thin. Thinner than lasagna.


Step #5: Start cutting out circles with a cup or a biscuit cutter.


Step #6: Add a generous tablespoon of the meat mixture to the center of your circles.


Step #6.1: To shape the dumplings, fold each circle in half.


Step #6.2: Seal the edges tightly using a little water if you need to.


Step #6.3 Fold again like this.


Step #6.4: Squeeze the ends together tightly.


Turn the dumpling over, and TA-DA! Place the finished products on a tray and freeze for at least 45 minutes, or until you are ready to use them. If you don’t plan on cooking them the same day, I recommend transferring them to a freezer bag.


When you’re ready to cook the pelmini, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to your taste, and dump them in!


Stir immediately to prevent sticking. Bring to a boil, and lower the temperature to medium. Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.


Remove with a slotted spoon.


Serve with butter, freshly chopped dill and sour cream!

pelminic-cranberry cake 069



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