These cabbage buns resemble the bierocks my mother made throughout my childhood. The bierock – an Eastern European doughy roll stuffed with savory filling – was passed down from my mother’s family, who belonged to a Volga German/Russian community. It shares traits (as well as the origin of its name) with the pirog, a Russian stuffed dumpling, and the börek, a Turkish stuffed bread. Prominent in the Midwest as well as Argentina, where German and Russian settlement occurred in the early 20th century, these buns bring back the fondest memories of excitement for me. Although simple in their nature, I considered them a special treat whenever my mom surprised me with them. They’re delicious at any temperature, although I particularly like them cold the day after they’re made, when they’ve had time to absorb all the juices from the filling.
Yields | 12 rolls |
4 Tbsp olive oil
1½ medium yellow onion, julienned
6 cloves garlic, minced
1½ head of cabbage, julienned
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1½ cup cream
2 cups, plus 1 Tbsp, lukewarm water, divided
1 Tbsp, plus 2 tsp, dry yeast
½ cup sugar, divided
7 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs, divided
1 Tbsp kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil
nonstick cooking oil spray
assorted toppings (pepitas, sesame seed, poppy seed, everything spice)
| Preparation – Filling | Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and cabbage, and season with salt and pepper to taste; cook until ingredients are very soft and slightly caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Add cream and reduce for 3 to 4 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste; set aside to cool completely.
| Preparation – Creamy Cabbage and Onion Rolls | Pour 2 cups water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir in yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar; let sit for 5 minutes. Add flour, 2 eggs, remaining sugar, salt and oil; mix on low speed to combine. If the dough looks too soft, add a few pinches of flour. Increase speed and knead for 5 minutes. Place dough in oiled bowl, cover with a clean towel and let rise for approximately 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking oil spray. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and, working with one at a time, roll each piece into a thin round on a clean surface. Place approximately ¾ cup of filling in the center of each round, careful not to overfill. Gather the edges of each round, pull up over filling, pinch together at top and fold extra dough over. Place on sheet pan with pinched and folded side of dough facing down. Continue this cycle with remaining rounds, and set side by side. Cover with clean towel, and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk remaining egg and 1 tablespoon water together; brush egg wash onto each roll, and sprinkle with toppings. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes; rotate and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until rolls are a deep, golden brown. Remove from oven and serve hot, warm, cold – anyway you like!
Amanda Elliott is the chef at Peachtree Catering (peachtreebanquet.com) in Columbia, Missouri, and authors the website Rustic Supper (rusticsupper.com), where she shares recipes centering on the idea of the communal table and embracing the heritage of food through travel. She also hosts a series of pop-up dinners in Columbia called Sunday Suppers.