Russian Pelmeni Meat Dumplings (Peljmeni) Recipe

Little Meat Dumplings or Russian Pelmeni
Little Meat Dumplings or Russian Pelmeni. © Barbara Rolek
  • 90 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 80 to 100 Russian pelmeni
Ratings (8)

This recipe for Russian meat dumplings, known as pelmeni or peljmeni, is traditionally filled with ground beef, pork, and sometimes lamb, and served with red-wine vinegar, black pepper, and melted butter. Mushroom, sauerkraut and vegetable fillings exist in other regions of Russia.

The word pelmeni describes the ear-shaped appearance of these dumplings, similar to Polish uszka, or "little ears," a smaller version of Polish pierogi.

To make the job go faster, the dough and filling can be made ahead and the dumplings can be assembled and cooked the next day.

What You'll Need

  • For the Dough:
  • 2 large room-temperature eggs
  • 2/3 cup tepid water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting
  • For the Filling:
  • 1 large finely grated onion
  • 8 ounces lean ground pork
  • 8 ounces ground beef chuck
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

How to Make It

Make the Dough

  1. In a food processor, combine eggs, water, oil, salt and half the flour. Add the remaining flour and process until a smooth dough forms.
  2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes or until no longer sticky. Wrap in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes. The dough can be refrigerated at this point until ready to roll.

Make the Filling

  1. In a medium bowl, combine onion, ground pork, ground beef, salt, and pepper until thoroughly mixed.
  1. Refrigerate, covered until ready to use.

Form the Pelmeni

  1. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Keep the rest covered while you roll one piece of dough into a finger-width cylinder. Cut this into 10 pieces. Roll each of the 10 pieces into a 2-inch circle.
  2. Spread 1 teaspoon of filling on the circle almost to the edges. Pick up the circle and fold to create a half-moon, and pinch the edges together, making sure there is no trapped air which could cause them to explode when cooking. Place formed pelmeni on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Cook the Pelmeni

  1. Place a large saucepan of salted water on to boil. When you have made 10 pelmeni, drop them into the boiling water. When they rise to the surface, boil an additional 1 to 2 minutes (test a dumpling for doneness). Remove from water with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  2. Serve boiled dumplings with melted butter, red-wine vinegar, black pepper, and sour cream, if desired. After boiling, pelmeni also can be sautéed in butter until lightly brown.
  3. Alternatively, pelmeni can be rolled out and filled as for pierogi and frozen for later cooking as outlined in these how to make pierogi steps.

A Dumpling a Day

The adage has it that an apple a day will keep the doctor away but some people would say it's a dumpling a day that will keep the doc at bay or at least keep you in comfort-food heaven. Here are 19 Eastern European dumpling recipes that will give you nearly three weeks' worth of "medicine" for the soul.