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Pelmeni (meat-filled Siberian dumplings)


Not so long ago, I acquired a new addition for my collection of vintage cookbooks.  To my delight, it was on a subject that I am very passionate about: dumplings.  Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I found this book based on it’s content alone, and as I danced my way up to the register (seriously, that is how excited I was by this find)- it quickly became a double score once the cashier let me in on the fact everything was 1/2 off that day!!!  My dancing continued out to the parking lot, and into my car.  I love dumplings of every size, shape and filling from every corner of the globe…….

My first inspiration from my new favorite collection member was, pelmeni. Pelmeni are delightful dumplings filled with a combination of pork and beef seasoned with garlic, onion and dill.  The fact this recipe calls for a fair bit of dill, worked out great for me to help use up the abundance of dill from my garden.  Pelmeni may have been the original frozen dinner – since Siberian housewives always kept sacks of frozen pelmeni in snow surrounding their homes.  Make them ahead of time and store in the freezer, and  then just boil them in some salted water or beef broth when you are ready.  Serve with some sour cream or mustard-vinegar sauce garnished with some dill, and you are set. Enjoy!




4 cups all-purpose flour, plus some additional flour for shaping

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup warm water

1-1/2 teaspoons salt



3/4 pound ground beef

1/4 pound ground pork

1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons water


7-8 quarts salted water (for boiling dumplings)


To serve:

1/2 stick melted butter

lemon wedges

sour cream

Mustard -Vinegar Sauce:

1/4 cup powdered dry mustard

1/4 cup cold water

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt


In a bowl, mix together flour, eggs,water and salt to make a firm dough.  Remove to a well-floured board andknead until the dough is smooth, about 10 minutes.  Form the dough into a ball.  Cover and let rest for 1/2 hour.


While the dough is resting. Mix together beef, pork, onion, garlic, dill, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of water.  Refrigerate until ready to use.


Divide the dough in half. Cover one half and roll out the other until it’s an 1/8 inch thick. Cut into rounds using a 2-1/2 or 3-inch round cookie cutter.


Place 1 teaspoon of filling in each round. Bring the 2 edges together to seal in the filling.  You can then pinch the 2 corners together or leave them as is.  Remember to dip your fingers in a small bowl of water while you are doing this so that the edges are well sealed. (The pelmeni can be frozen at this point for future use)


Bring salted water to a boil, and drop 10-12 pelmeni in at a time.  Cook for 8 minutes or until they float.  Repeat until all are done.

Remove with slotted spoon to a well-buttered baking dish. Pour a little melted butter over them and keep them warm in a oven 250° until all are done.

Yield: 70-80.

Serve with sour cream, lemon wedges or Mustard-Vinegar Sauce.


To make the mustard-vinegar sauce:

Mix the mustard powder with a little of the cold water and blend to make a smooth paste.

Add the rest of the water and vinegar gradually. Stir in the salt.  Refrigerate until ready to use.


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