I’ve only been to Seattle once.
Boyfriend worked for a company that brought him up there quite a bit and lucky for me I got to tag along on one of them. Also lucky for me, it was summer. Which meant it was in the middle of the 2-month long period where Seattle sees the sun.
This was also the first time I had Pelmeni.
We were walking around the Fremont neighborhood and stopped into a restaurant that looked like the brainchild of a Russian Hipster. They were surprised to see us at 3 pm, as most of their customers come in after bar close.
As I scarfed down my Chicken Pelmeni, covered in sour cream and bacon (ok so not SUPER Russian but whatever it was delicious) I wondered WHY AREN’T PELMENI RESTAURANTS EVERYWHERE.
Seriously, it’s the best late night food comfort food. Little soft pockets filled with meat and covered in various toppings.
Pelmeni are little Russian dumplings filled with meat and covered in butter, sour cream, vinegar or herbs. Typically they’re stuffed with beef, lamb or pork. Anything vegetarian or sweet and they are considered Vareniki.
They are not challenging to make by any means – they are just time-consuming. But all you really need is a free afternoon, a Netflix series to binge and a couple of freezer bags ready to be filled with Pelmeni for the long winter ahead.
I still don’t understand why Pelmeni haven’t taken over the world’s stage as the most comforting late night food.
It’s time these little Russian dumplings had their moment.
(start making 3 hours before you want Pelmeni)
Dough (adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen)
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, warm water, and salt. Whisk to combine.
Then, add your dough hook attachment and dump in 4 cups of flour.* Mix on low until fully incorporated.
*If you do not have an electric mixer – no worries! – you can still make Pelmeni. But consider this your work out and start mixing by hand.
Then add the rest of the flour, one cup at a time. Towards the end, just add Tablespoons of flour, because you may not need all of it. You know it’s done when the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl. At this point, continue mixing for 5 more minutes.
Let the dough rest while you work on your filling.
Saute the diced onion in olive oil on a skillet. When this is translucent, add your garlic and cook for another couple minutes. In a large bowl, add your raw ground meat, cooked onion/garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine.
Now we assemble.
I’ve heard Pelmeni molds are VERY helpful here and I can see why. But I can’t buy a gadget every time I wanna make something so I did these by hand. These are not challenging, I promise.
You’ll take a gumball sized piece of dough, and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Your circle will be about the size of your palm. Take a tsp sized amount of meat filling and place it in the middle of your dough circle.
Pinch the ends together so you get a half moon shape. Then pinch those two ends together so you’ve got this little diaper shape.* Check out Natasha’s Kitchen for step by step pictures.
*I used water on my fingertips to help get the ends to stick
Place the finished Pelmeni on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once full, this will go in the freezer. One frozen, you can put them in a freezer bag (freeze separated at first, otherwise they will all stick together).
When ready to cook, you’ll heat up a large pot of water. Once boiling, add your desired amount of Pelmeni (the most I’ve seen eaten is 15 at a time, can you beat it?).
Mine took 15 minutes to cook fully inside. I’d suggest timing this out, and once you hit 13 or 14 minutes, take one out, cut it in half to see if it’s cooked. At that point, you can determine if you need a few more minutes or if you’re done.
Toppings can include butter, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, Sriracha, soy sauce, dill…get wild and add all of them!