Russian fried meat pies – Чебуреки

I have never made them before. I have made pelmeni or Russian meat dumplings many, many times, but never the chebureki. But I have recently had a lot of discussion regarding Russian food and chebureki is something that I always speak about. My mother made them at least once a month and we used to eat it with a cup of homemade hot chicken stock – the meat pie in one hand and a big mug of broth in the other. It’s my first time that I made them yesterday, and today I had to tell my mother what every mother is bittersweet to hear – my chebureki came out a bit better than yours. Because who on earth can cook better than your mother?

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The dough I made was very soft. And a bit crispy. And thin. And I know when you roll it out too thin it might break and all the wonderful juices from the meat drip out, but that is the risk I was willing to take. The recipe is translated from Russian, and sometimes they use imperial system, which is the case for this recipe. I do not approve imperial system, because it simply lacks accuracy, but I also know that when you are dealing with cakes, pastry and dough, even metrical system produces different results, since every flour, water, oil or seasonings used acts differently.

I used 4 cups of flour and 1¼ cups of water, teaspoon of sugar and salt, 8 tablespoons of oil and one tablespoon of vodka (it helps to crisp up the exterior). Everything was mixed in the stand mixer. The dough should not be sticky but quite soft and pliable. This makes about 10 quite big chebureks. IMG_3829

For the filling I used lamb meat 50% lamb mince and other 50% was a mixture of pork and veal, all together around 700 grams of meat. I grated 2 big onions and 3 garlic cloves on a small grater. Added some chopped coriander too, also salt and pepper, and about 100 ml of heavy cream to bring the mixture together. My cat, Maurice, was morally supporting me through the process. IMG_3826

The dough is rolled out into rounds, about 12 cm in diameter, then filled with about 90 grams of the minced meat, then sealed into half-moon shaped and sealed with the help of a fork. Rustic looking and easy. At the same time you can already heat up a large pan with about 2 cm of oil. Next time I will try to fry them in deep fryer, to ensure an even cooking. Be careful when frying them – if they break and juices come out, bad things can happen. Fry on both sides until golden brown, approx. 3 minutes. Place them between kitchen papers to soak up the extra oil. And enjoy the wonderful, simple creation of thin dough filled with tender meat and be careful not to drip out any of the precious juices residing inside.IMG_3844

Peasantry at its best.IMG_3831