Piroshki (sort of)
While we’re pretty adventuresome where eating is concerned, we’re still German and Scotch at heart when it comes to our food traditions. And so when meat pies happen, they’re usually wrapped in or topped with a flaky pastry. But every now and again the tradition of cooking a meat mixture inside of a loaf of denser yeasty bread—much like the Russian tradition of piroshki—sounds like just the thing.
So, here’s our version of the piroshki. We’ve kept the onions, ground meat, and dill, and the beautiful golden color of the exterior, and then we added broccoli, CHF carrots, and a handful of spices that don’t show up in the original recipes we’ve found. We’ve also cooked this as a large log, instead of individual pies. So much faster to make and it holds together really well when you slice it.
The number one thing we’ve learned—besides that this is delicious and a super easy eating meal—is that this is a flexible dish. Try ours and then make changes that make you happy. Different spices, different veggies, different meats, no meat at all. Whatever floats your boat.
This would be soooo good paired with a bean soup or a big crisp vinegar-y salad.
Feeds 4 (but doubles successfully)
2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk (scalded)
2 TBSP butter
1 pkg yeast (or 2¼ tsp)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 egg (beaten and reserved for egg wash)
One large onion
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup broccoli, chopped smallish (a great use for the stalk, btw)
1 lb ground pork (We prefer Woodlands Pork ground pork)
1 TBSP sweet paprika
1 TBSP garlic scape salt (CHF’s is the best!), then to taste
1 TBSP dill weed
1 TBSP honey, then to taste
ground pepper to taste
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
½ cup parmesan, finely grated
TBSP of favorite cooking oil, we used olive oil
Put sugar, salt, and butter in a large bowl. Scald milk (small bubbles around the edges of the milk just before it goes to a full boil), then add to bowl, stirring gently to dissolve and melt other ingredients. Cool until lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast over mixture, stir and add flour. Once the dough comes together (no kneading necessary, but okay if necessary to incorporate all of the flour), cover tightly, and allow to rise until doubled in bulk.
While dough is rising, heat large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and sauté onions and carrots for ten minutes or until onions are translucent (as a habit, we always sprinkle cooking onions with a small amount of salt and a small amount of sugar—helping both the flavor and in breaking down the veg). Then add a cup of water and continue cooking to soften the carrots. When the carrots are very nearly to the consistency you would like (pretty soft), add broccoli and extra water if need be. Once the water has all cooked off, remove veg to another dish.
In the same pan you used for the veg, toss in the ground pork. Season with all of the spices/honey and keep moving in the pan until fully cooked. Taste and see if there’s one of the spices or more you want to add more of. (Note: Meat eats up spices. In a situation like this, we would rather slightly over-season the meat than under season it even a little bit. This seasoning is going to get cut by the veggies and will also compete against the mild cheeses and the slightly sweet dough wrapping it.)
Mix vegetables into the finished pork. Allow to cool slightly.
Roll out dough into a giant square about ¼+ inches thick. Mound the filling down the center of the bread evenly, sprinkle evenly with both kinds of cheese, leaving about 3 inches along the sides and 1.5 inches along the top. Then fold it up. We fold the ends in first and then the sides over and pinch all of those edges together. The side flaps need to overlap and be pinched together very well. As the dough rises in the oven, it will pull away from the seams.
Brush whole sealed loaf with egg wash and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Once out of the oven, you can cut it almost immediately. Enjoy.