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Germans from Russia - Runzas (Bierocks)

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Tom Kurth View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 January 2016 at 17:18
This is another Volgadeutsch recipe, well known in western Kansas where my father's family (non-Russian Germans) settled and in Nebraska and Iowa. It's definitely in the category of comfort food. I thought I had posted it here before, but I searched for both names and found neither. Bierock is the German name. I don't know where runza comes from but there is a small chain of restaurants HQ'ed in Nebraska using that name. I suspect it is a Czech name for something similar. I searched for and tried various recipes. This is the best one I've found. It was from a Taste of Home website.

Dough:
4 1/2 C. flour, divided
1/2 C. sugar
2 pkg. yeast
1 t. salt
3/4 C. milk
1/2 C. water
1/2 C. shortening
2 eggs

Filling:
1 lb. ground beef
2 small onions chopped
4 C. chopped cabbage
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Directions:
1. Place 1.75 C. flour, the sugar, the yeast and salt in a stand mixer bowl. Heat milk, water and shortening to 120-130F. Pour over flour mixer. Add eggs. Beat on low until blended. Increase speed to high and beat for 3 more minutes. Stir in remaining flour. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
2. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
3.Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion until cooked through. Drain. Add cabbage, salt and pepper. Cook until cabbage is wilted.
4. Punch down dough and roll into 12 6-inch squares. Top each with about 1/3 C. meat mixture. Fold into triangles. Pinch edges tight to seal and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot.

Notes:
Drained sauerkraut may be substituted for the cabbage.
There are many variations though most are probably not authentic. Swiss, provolone and American cheese have been used. The Nebraska restaurants sell an "Italian" runza with tomato sauce and mozzarella.
Runzas freeze well. They can also be rewarmed easily in a microwave.
Best,
Tom

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2016 at 17:35
Tom - huge thanks for posting this! It's another one that's on my list, one of these days ~

I will add this link to our main GfR thread, so that it's part of the database.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2016 at 23:38
Mmmmmnnn
Mmmm
Mmnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
But for winter methinks.
Thanks for the share
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Tom Kurth View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 January 2016 at 18:14
It is winter (here)!
Best,
Tom

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 January 2016 at 20:48
Here's something interesting - from the Omaha World Herald, Nov 13, 1968:

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 January 2016 at 15:20
Very similar to meat empanadas.
Principal differences are the crust is much simpler and peppers replace the cabbage for the empanadas.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 January 2016 at 18:11
Close, Drinks. Runzas are more bread-like, as compared to the more piecrust like epanada shells.

You'd be hard pressed, I reckon, to find any culture that doesn't have a least one version of a meat-stuffed pastry.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sam in St. Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 July 2019 at 04:41
Tom, thanks for posting the Bierock recipe.  The name Bierock or more properly, Birock, is the Volga German adaptation of pirog,the Russian word for a baked pie or turnover. It is mentioned in August Longsinger's 1925 manuscript that was published by Verlag Bernhard Albert Greiner in Germany in 2004 as the book, Sachliche Volkskunde der Wolgadeutschen: Siedlung, Obdach, Nahrung, Kleidung.

Just to introduce myself, my name's Sam Brungardt, and I was reared on a farm in northeastern Ellis County, Kansas, near the former Volga German settlement of Emmeram.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 July 2019 at 06:15
Welcome to our little corner of the culinary world, Sam.  We're looking forward to hearing more from you. 
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Tom Kurth View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 July 2019 at 19:29
Hi Sam, I'm somewhat surprised I hadn't made the connection to pirogis. Seems kinda obvious now you mention it. That was last winter's test food after wife Tracy gave me a pirogi press for Christmas. Now son Nick is pestering me to try to make Chinese dumplings using the pirogi press. Empanadas can't be far off.

Best,
Tom

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