Russian Pelmany




Gary and I took a brief trip to Illinois to visit his family and our Russian friends, Sergey and Lena. It was great to get caught up on life with everyone and to see the beautiful fall colors.

Lena taught me to make Pelmany, a dish from both her and Sergey’s childhoods (though Lena was born and raised in Kazakhstan). Pelmany is known as Russian comfort food: they’re pockets of bready, meaty goodness. Both of them grew up in the mountains where it got cold–really cold–in the wintertime, so a hearty warm meal was desired. Because the recipe is fairly labor-intensive, the entire family would be involved to roll out the dough and make the little pillows. They would make large batches of Pelmany, and spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and set them outside where they would freeze individually. Later that week, they had instant delicious meals!

I can only imagine the -35 degree temperatures they talked about during their Russian winters, but to have warm Pelmany for dinner with your loved ones around the table would warm anyone’s heart.




For the dough:
3 c white flour
1 c water
Pinch of salt
2 eggs

For the filling:
1 lb venison
1 lb wild boar
2 onions, minced


First, make the dough, for it will need about an hour to rest. Put the flour in a bowl, and carve in a little hole. Put the eggs and salt inside, and start to stir until it forms a craggy ball. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Next, knead on the countertop until smooth by kneading for 5 minutes, then letting rest for 10-15 minutes. Repeat this again. The dough should be smooth when finished. Let sit for an hour in room temperature before using.

To make the filling, mix all the raw meat together. Coarsely chop an onion, and put in a food processor. Add the onion to the meat, and mix. Add salt and pepper here.

To make the “pillows”, roll a small section into a tube. Cut one-inch sections, and then flatten in flour. Roll with a rolling pin to make a 3 inch circle of dough. Add a small spoonful of the raw meat mixture, and fold in half. (Another Russian woman posted how to do this step-by-step here.) Bring the corners together, and tighten, making sure no water will be able to get inside the dumpling when boiling.

When finished, bring a pot of water to boiling on the stove. Gently put the Pelmany into the water with a slotted spoon. Boil for 5-7 minutes, or until the dumplings start to rise to the top. Garnish with sour cream, and sriracha or other hot sauces. Nasdarovje!

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