Like most well informed, non-crazy Americans, I’m waiting for Russia to get their just desserts for interfering with our democracy; but, before we get to dessert, we need to have dinner, and that’s where these delicious beef pirozhki come in.
While not necessarily easy to make, the dough and filling are pretty simple, and the results well worth the trouble. Literally any filling will work here, but I was going for a very specific style of pirozhki, which I’ll describe as “mid-eighties, liquor store deli.” Allow me to explain.
I once worked as a bike messenger for like two days. After realizing how grueling it was, especially in hilly San Francisco, I spent my life savings ($120) to buy a friend’s scooter, which extended my career by a full 6 months. The money wasn’t great, and so for lunch I’d get a beef pirozhki from one of those sketchy delis you sometimes see in the back of big city corner stores.
They only cost two bucks, delivered a ridiculously high number of calories, and even though I knew it wasn’t the healthiest thing to eat, I grew to love the taste. So, when I decided to film this, I set out to get as close to that experience as possible. It took a few tries, but I ended up with something very similar. The only major difference is that I know for sure what meat was used.
Since you’re not trying to recapture a taste from your past, feel free to add more cheese to the filling, which will not only taste good, but also make the crumbly filling easier to work with. But, no matter what you stuff these with, I really do hope you give them a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for about 15 Pirozhki, depending on the size:
For the beef filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, finely diced
2 pound ground beef
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried dill
1/3 cup chicken broth or water to deglaze
1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, optional
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, optional
For the dough:
1 scant cup warm milk (just under a cup of milk heated to about 100 F.)
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons melted butter
about 3 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
NOTE: I’m not sure the amount of filling will match the amount of dough, but if you have extra of either, both can be frozen until next time.