Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pelmeni

Our neighbor Natasha makes delicious pelmeni. Knowing that I cook, and that I like them, she offered to teach me her recipe. One of the secrets of her cuisine is her husband, a hunter who often has some kind of special game meat to offer. This time, they had a wild boar.

Alla and I brought over a few other ingredients for the pelmeni and came to Natasha and Sasha's place after church on Sunday. When we arrived, the table was already laden with an array of beautiful and mouth-watering appetizers. I concentrated to get my salivary glands under control because we had work to do before we'd sit down at the table.

First, we had to make the dough. Natasha takes a far more artistic approach than most people I knew. We started by sifting a bunch of flour onto the counter. How did we know how much flour to sift? I dunno. Then she whizzed a couple of eggs and some water in the blender, commenting that she might add more water later. She did, but first she dumped the watery egg mixture onto the flour and started mixing it with her hands. She kneeded and kneeded, until the flour came to a muscular consistency.

I got to roll out the dough, batch by batch. I got the first one about right so they left me alone for the second one, which ended up a little too thick on one side. I compensated on the third one by rolling it until it became nearly transparent. Perhaps I had overdone the thinness, but everybody took my dough-disks in stride and stuffed them with the meat mixture. We started with a LOT of meat, and Alla and I figured we'd have to make meatballs with the extra meat. But as it worked out, we exactly finished the meat when we finished up the dough.

As they say, however, "The proof's in the pudding," and we all looked forward to sitting down to the table. We worked slowly through the appetizers and batch after batch of pelmeni. I don't know how many I ate. I probably set some sort of a record, or at least a personal best. We had a great time, with delicious food and delightful conversation. It felt like a holiday.

To see all the photos, click here and look near the top of the page.

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