Hearty Meat Pies Update A Classic Dish


Bierocks: Beef, cabbage and onions are tucked inside golden-brown baked turnovers.

In The Kitchen

March 10, 2002|By Andy Badeker | Andy Badeker,Special to the Sun

Here is a convenience-oriented modification of a family favorite, bierocks. This version of a meat pie is said to have immigrated to the Plains states with so-called "Volga Germans." These farmers, invited to homestead in Russia in the 1700s by Catherine the Great, had their privileges revoked in the next century; many headed for the Americas.

No self-respecting homesteader would resort to tubes of supermarket biscuit dough as we have done here. Then again, given the washing, planting, canning and child-rearing, those cardboard tubes might have been mighty welcome.

The filling ingredients may sound plain -- cabbage, onions, hamburger, salt and pepper -- but the results made tasters happy.

Reduced-fat biscuits are the quickest wrapper choice. Bierocks traditionally use a yeast dough, so if you have more time, feel free to use frozen bread or pizza dough, or a boxed hot-roll mix.


Easy Beef and Cabbage Turnovers

Tossed salad with vinaigrette

Riesling, cider or amber lager; low-fat milk for the kids

Vanilla ice cream topped with peaches


* Look for packaged slaw mix in the produce section.

* Ready-cooked "beef crumbles" or meat-free hamburger substitutes can be mixed with the sauteed cabbage, but you'll have to experiment with seasoning and liquids.

* Don't let the filling get too wet, or the pastry -- especially this kind of biscuit dough -- will get soggy.

Andy Badeker is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

Easy Beef and Cabbage Turnovers

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Yield: 16 turnovers

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 head green cabbage, cored, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon each: salt, freshly ground pepper

two 17.3-ounce packages refrigerated large reduced-fat biscuits (16 total)

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons water

Heat olive oil in large skillet over high heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until starting to brown, 3 minutes. Add ground beef; cook, breaking up lumps, until all pink is gone, 5 minutes. Drain fat.

Stir in cabbage; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is limp and translucent, 10 minutes. Uncover; cook to let excess moisture evaporate, 2 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper. Let cool.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll biscuits out between sheets of wax paper to 6-inch-diameter circles. Arrange about 1 / 4 cup of the cabbage mixture on lower half of each biscuit, leaving a 1 / 4 -inch border of dough. Fold top half over mixture; press edges together with tines of fork to seal. Whisk together egg and water; brush turnovers with egg yolk mixture.

Place turnovers on foil-lined baking sheets. Bake until tops are golden brown, 12 minutes.

Nutritional information per turnover: 110 calories, 31 percent calories from fat, 3.7 grams fat, 1 grams saturated fat, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 375 milligrams sodium, 14 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams protein, 1.4 grams fiber

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