For the past few months I was eating clean and exercising a ton, which would explain the lack of recent recipe posts. Having said that, I have realized that life without home cooked meals and delicious parties was not a festive one. Cue in Fourth of July celebration! My friends and I grilled, my mom baked and all of us enjoyed plenty of wine and laughs as we raised our glasses to America’s independence and my dad’s birthday – yes, he is a July 4th baby! If saying hello to starchy foods, sauces and sweets means I have to double my fitness regimen, so be it. Afterall, the French have proven to us that enjoying life while maintaining a bikini-ready figure can all be achieved by simple portion control. Indulging your senses should never be sacrificed and happy conscience can still be maintained without saying goodbye to joie de vivre!
Since I relocated to Palo Alto, a quick 10 minute drive to my family home, I have made it my top priority to visit my parents at least once a week. Every time I drop by their house, I am greeted with memories of childhood bliss that only parents can make you feel. The family photographs abound, I speak my native language and enjoy delicious food my mom whips up in what seems to be minutes. I also get endless opportunities to learn a new recipe! This week, I invite you to join me in the preparation of classic Russian meat pirogi, reduced in size and perfect for your next soiree:
- 1 lb of Beef Shoulder
- 1 Onion
- 4 Eggs
- Frozen Puff Pastry
Start out by boiling the beef shoulder for 2 hours until it is cooked through and soft. Chop one large onion and cook it in the pan until it turns soft and golden. Boil the eggs and set aside to cool. Process the meat and cooked onion in the meat grinder to get a uniform mass. Chop the eggs and combine them in a bowl with the meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper and your pastry stuffing is done!
Take a package of puff pastry that had been previously defrosted. Spread some flour on the rolling board so the dough does not stick. Take a square of the puff pastry and roll it out evenly to thin out the dough. Take a regular cup or glass (around 3″ in diameter) and press it firmly to the dough. Cut the excess dough around to reveal a uniform circle. Repeat with the rest of the dough until you have sufficient number of circles to create pirogi. Take one circle and add stuffing to one side. Bend the other side of the circle over to create a half-moon and seal by pressing the fork firmly to the edges.
Repeat with the rest of the dough circles. Separate an egg and keep the egg yolk in a cup mixing it to uniform consistency. Use baking brush to paint the pirogi with egg yolk – this will give them a beautiful golden glow when they bake.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the pirogi for 20-25 minutes until they get to an even golden brown color. You really cannot undercook them since the stuffing is already cooked so just watch for the right color! Take out from the oven and inhale the delicious smell – no need to tell your guests which home you live in…they have to simply follow their noses…Mmmmm…