Recipes for local dishes

Irkutsk Pelmeni

Pelmeni are Russian poached pasties that have a meat filling. When one says "pelmeni," he thinks of traditional Siberian pelmeni. There is a special recipe for "Irkutskie pelmeni" in almost every Russian cookbook. Neighbours gather after the frosts set in for special "session" or "bee," drinking vodka and having fun while pelmeni are being made in quantities running into the thousands. They are laid out on huge dough boards and carried outside to freeze, after which they are dumped into sacks like so many pebbles and stored away until needed...

1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
garlic to taste

To make the dough, combine the flour, eggs, water and 1/2 tsp. salt. Knead mixture. Let rest for 30 minutes. Mix the ground beef, ground pork, onions, 1 tsp. salt, pepper and garlic together. Cut the dough into three equally sized pieces and roll each one into a cylinder the diameter of a finger. Cut each cylinder into pieces the size of a walnut, then roll each piece into a very thin flat cake with a diameter of about 2 inches. Put some of the ground meat mixture in the center of each flat cake (quite a lot, but not so much that you can't then seal up the dough). Then fold the dough in half and join up the edges to seal them. Pinch the corners together: you should now have a ravioli-shaped "flying saucer."

Boil the pelmeni in salted water for seven minutes, or until they float to the surface. Serve them in soup plates with sour cream or in broth.

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