Return of the Bierocks

Nom Rating: * (1/5)
I was first introduced to bierocks while attending the University of Oklahoma. As a student there, one of my favorite days of the week was Tuesday, solely because it was on this day that the 2:8 House opened its doors to students for a delicious home-cooked lunch and some warm and friendly company.

Sidenote- The 2:8 House is the OU Nazarene Student Center and a wonderful place full of wonderful people. If you ever find yourself in Norman, OK, stop by and say hello!

Mr. Dave Kyncl is that man in charge of the kitchen and one of the most talented chefs that I know. It was his Santa Fe soup and brownies that got me through many long days of classes and tests. But the soup and the brownie didn’t come even close to the deliciousness level of the bierocks! Just thinking about them makes me smile! There are very few foods that have caused me to eat with such zeal that I actually make myself ill. However, I can remember eating enough bierocks to upset my stomach on at least two occassions.

But enough about how we met and a little more about what they are. Bierocks are German (or possibly Russian) pastries that are filled with beef, cabbage, onions and sometimes (when they’re made correctly) cheese. It’s like a hot pocket, except tastier…and healthier…and more German (or maybe Russian).

It has been five years since I have been at OU and, thus, five years since I have had a bierock. Imagine my delight when, for one of my wedding showers, I was given a recipe for bierocks. I have been looking forward to making them ever since (aka. a whole three months).

Unfortunately, bierocks are not one of those get-home-from-work-and-pop-it-in-the-oven recipes. Because the recipe involves making yeast dough, there is rise time involved. Fortunately for me, we are having yet another snow day as Snowpocalypse 2011 continues to bash Oklahoma.

The first step in making bierocks involves making the dough. Feel free to make it a day ahead and refrigerate the dough. Otherwise, after putting it together, allow for it to rise on the counter until it has almost doubled in size.
More Ingredients
After the dough has risen, it’s time to make the filling. Bierock innards are fairly simple and consist of cabbage, ground beef (or turkey), onions (or dried onions if you’re married to an onion-hater), salt and pepper and cheese.

The dreaded cabbage

Cabbage gets a bad rap, but don’t be turned off of this recipe just because of one ingredient that you may not be sure of. Cabbage may not be my favorite thing, but I love it in bierocks and it didn’t even make the kitchen smell bad!

So let go of any preconceived notions and chop away!

Add everything except the cheese to a skillet and cook until the ground beef (or turkey) is browned and the cabbage is tender and wilty. Conveniently, those two things happen in about the same amount of time.

If you’re like me and consider a recipe incomplete until you’ve added a secret ingredient or two, feel free to add a dash of garlic powder or other favorite spice.

Bierock dough

While the cabbage and meat combo is cooking, roll out your dough and cut it into four to five inch squares.

You should be able to get around 15 little squares from your dough. Of course, they may not all be squares and that’s okay. I had plenty of rectangles and even a few triangles. Tasty comes in all sorts of shapes!

Once the meat and cabbage mixture has cooked and your dough has been rolled and cut, place a spoonful of filling onto each square. Then, add a healthy amount of cheese to each.

I played it conservative with the cheese amount and I will definitely be more generous next time! I was worried that the cheese would overtake the filling, but after tasting the recipe, I would recommend equal parts filling and cheese.

Making bierocks

Bring up each of the corners to the center and pinch the edges together. Place the bierocks pinched-side down onto a greased cookie sheet.

Depending on the shape of your dough, you may end up with squares or triangles.

Let them rise for thirty minutes and then pop them into the oven to bake.

After thirty minutes in the oven, be patient and allow them to cool a bit before nomming down on this perfect cold-weather meal!

Verdict: After having these for dinner, Mr. Torres and I must, regrettably, give this recipe a low Nom Rating. I am still holding on to my love of bierocks and think the addition of onions (which were omitted) and more cheese would improve this recipe. Mr. Torres, on the other hand, is not a fan of cabbage and, therefore, sees no reason in attempting to salvage this recipe. In his own words, “I like bierocks when they’re empanadas.” In other words, no cabbage, more spices, more cheese. That’s my man!

Nom Rating: * (1/5)           


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