Let me be real with you for a moment: I’m slow. I don’t mean that I’m particularly stupid (although I think have my moments there, too). I’m just precise. I like things perfect. I like things planned well. That means that the tasks I accomplish in my life take a long time to complete. Any time I decide to bake, it takes an excruciating amount of time for me to decide on the “perfect” recipe for whatever the occasion is and whatever my creative whim happens to be. It takes a long time for me to actually get things going.
So naturally, I have a lot of goals for the new year, and I have been pursuing them the past few weeks. Slowly.
Unfortunately, that means blogging has taken a slight back seat in favor of other activities and pursuits. Actually, blogging has been edged out lately by the things I like to blog about: food, family, and Jesus.
On the one hand, this is great because of the things I’ve been able to do!
(In the kitchen, I have tried two new cookie recipes, cut and baked biscuits from scratch, made stuffed mushrooms, breaded and baked my own chicken strips, baked homemade granola bars, made French fries from scratch, and roasted diced sweet potatoes (all first time experiences for me)! I have been able to spend time with my Savior praying for my family and the condition of our hearts in daily life. I have been able to be intentional about my parenting and discipline in a way that is healthy and productive for me and my children. Some incredible things!)
On the other hand, all this doing rather than blogging means I’m a little behind, and thus you get a New Year’s Eve post today. 🙂 But hey, if you like New Year’s Eve as much as I do (or if you just like good food), I hope you won’t mind. 🙂
I truly enjoy New Year’s Eve. In terms of the actual day and what activities take place during that 24 hour time frame, it is my favorite holiday.
Christmas Day usually is so packed that my energy often disappears quickly. Thanksgiving requires immense self-control to not eat myself sick. I don’t care for loud or surprising explosions, so the 4th of July is not at the top of my list.
But New Year’s Eve? It’s flexible.
Want to get together with family? Go for it! Want to invite friends over for board games? Go for it! Want to go out square dancing past midnight? Go for it! Want to stay home and go to bed early? Go for it!
With New Year’s Eve, the possibilities are endless.
Over the last decade, we’ve done all of the above. And since we moved a couple years ago, we have spent this holiday with all new friends, too. This past New Year’s Eve was our second in the new town. Without family in town and without set traditions, we accepted an invitation to a (newer) friend’s house to celebrate.
Now, I’m not great in social gatherings, particularly when I only know one or two people. I never know how to start conversations, so I’m the awkward person who hangs by her spouse and clings to her coffee, sipping slowly and trying to act normal.
Due to my social ineptness, the fact that we didn’t know many people, and the fact that we were bringing our three young kids, I figured it would be a short night.
I could not have been more pleasantly surprised at the way things turned out.
Seconds after our arrival, our kids were excitedly playing with other children in a multitude of toys and dress-up clothes. Shortly after that, our friend let us know that they like to play card games on New Year’s Eve and asked if we were interested in playing Hearts. And though my husband and I love Catan, we have played many MANY nights of card games, and we are very fond of Hearts. 🙂 Not to mention, card playing significantly increases my ability to socialize with people I just met.
Three hours later we hauled happy, but very sleepy, children to the car. It had been a wonderful night for us and for the kiddos. I’m still stunned when I think about how long the kids lasted, and in such good moods! Seriously amazing.
Today’s recipe was born from something incredible that I ate on this wonderful New Year’s Eve. My friend made bierocks. They are traditionally a large sweet dinner roll baked with a beef and cabbage filling inside. I had heard of these, but never tried one. They were soft and warm, with buttered tops. The savory beef filling balanced the hint of sweetness in the surrounding roll.
I knew had to try to make them myself. In my quest for more vegetable consumption, I even had some cabbage in the fridge!
So I set to work browning some ground beef. Separately, I sauteed some onion, grated carrot, and cabbage.
Don’t you love grated carrot? I’m a little starry-eyed over grated carrot… it just piles so beautifully, and so orange. 🙂
I mixed the veggies into the meat and seasoned it. After tasting, I decided there was not enough body to the flavor. The beef was coming through with salt and pepper, but it needed more real flavor. I decided to try a couple squirts of mustard. That did the trick!
The filling was so tasty that I wanted to eat it with a spoon. Who thought cabbage could be present in something so warm and comforting? Mmmm…
I let the filling cool and got to work on my roll dough. I looked at several recipes and altered a buttery roll recipe I make frequently to reflect a similar sugar and butter content to bierock dough recipes I viewed. Some beirock recipes I looked at online required 7 cups of flour in the dough. I think that would have been WAY too much bread around the filling (based on only one pound of meat), so I went with 3 1/2 cups of flour in my dough recipe.
I layered up the ingredients in my bread machine for the dough cycle. An hour and a half later, PRESTO! Beautifully soft and slightly sweet dough. (I have actually been making a LOT more bread and rolls without the bread maker based on recent inspiration! This time, though, I didn’t want to mess with the extra time or mess, so out came the bread machine!) I rolled the finished dough out into a large rectangle, cut it into 12 equal(ish) pieces and divided the filling evenly between the rectangles.
To shape, I pulled the dough up around the filling, pinched to seal, and then twisted the seams for a good seal.
I placed the rolls seam-side down on a baking sheet to rise while the oven preheated. Then I baked them to a light golden brown. I would have baked them a tad longer except the bottoms were perilously close to burning. I have some serious baking sheet (and perhaps oven) issues that need to be sorted…
The bierocks were a great success in our home with satisfied appetites, delighted taste buds, and smiles all around!
I was ELATED that they turned out so well! But, being a perfectionist, here are a few things I will do differently next time: 🙂
First, I will take each small rectangle of dough and roll it out a little larger before putting on the filling. My method this time produced stretched, thin tops, and thick bottoms from stretching the dough and gathering it for the seams. Hopefully a thinner dough to begin with will mean a more even thickness all around the filling because the top won’t have to stretch as much to encase the filling.
Second, I will brush the tops of the rolls with butter or water immediately after shaping. My rolls seemed to form an instant crust in the dry atmosphere of our kitchen. This prevented the tops from rising well, while the underside stayed moist and rose exceptionally well. This then caused a large dome on the inside of the finished bierocks that pushed the filling up and out toward the sides.
All in all though, the bierocks were a scrumptious success!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 head cabbage, cut into ribbons
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 2 whole carrots, grated
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp pepper, or to taste
- 1 cube beef bouillon, dissolved in 1/2 c. hot water
- 1-2 TBSP bacon grease (or oil or butter)
- one or two good squirts of yellow mustard, or to taste
- Brown the ground beef, and drain any grease.
- Saute the diced onion in a small pot with the bacon grease (or fat of your choice). When the onions are soft, add the carrots and cabbage and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until soft.
- Add the vegetables to the beef. Season with salt and pepper, then pour in the beef bouillon/water mixture and simmer until most of the water has evaporated. While it is cooking, squirt in some mustard and taste. Squirt in additional mustard as needed to please your taste buds. 🙂
- Transfer the mixture to a heat-safe dish such as a glass bowl or Pyrex dish, and let cool. If you make the mixture ahead of time, store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble your bierocks.
- Make up a batch of your favorite dinner roll recipe (I used the one below). When the dough is ready to shape, roll it into a large rectangle, and cut it into 12 (roughly) equal rectangles. Spoon the mixture onto the middle of each rectangle. Pull the edges of the rectangle up around the filling and pinch to seal the seams. Place (seam side down) on a baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter, and allow to rise while the oven preheats.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown (about 20-25 minutes). Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter again.
- Serve warm.
Bierock Dough (enough for 12 bierocks)
- 1 c. warm milk
- 3 TBSP butter
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast (or one package of yeast)
Layer ingredients in your bread machine according to the order your bread maker requires and select the dough cycle. (Mine layers in the order the ingredients are listed with the milk first and the yeast last. I make a well in the center of the flour to put the yeast so it does not touch the liquid.) When the cycle is complete, use the dough in the recipe as directed.
May scrumptious days await you!