One good recipe: Hot pockets, Kansas-style


On a trip to Kansas a few years back to learn about the wheat industry, I had a chance to taste these savory buns filled with ground beef and cabbage. I saw them again when I was paging through "The New Midwestern Table" by Amy Thielen. Her recipe, called Nebraska Runzas, was similar, but the dough was richer, with eggs and more fat. She mentions cabbage added to the beef for the filling but uses spinach instead. I love the idea of swapping spinach for cabbage, but this dough from the Kansas Wheat Commission was a cinch to make. I'm sticking with it.

I added ½ cup whole-wheat flour for a boost of nutrition. I mixed it up in my KitchenAid stand mixer, then kneaded it a bit by hand. The recipe provides a handy trick for rolling out the dough, often a pain with yeast doughs as they like to bounce back. This is what you do: Grease the counter or cutting board, and the dough sticks to it and doesn't pull back.

These are filling and hearty, with Russian and German roots. They'd be a perfect thing to tuck into your pocket or lunch box. I bet you also could make them with ground turkey.

-- Miriam Rubin (

For the dough

1 package or 1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast

1 cup lukewarm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)

4 tablespoons butter, cut up and softened

2 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon fine table salt

2 to 2½ cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

For the filling

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

1 pound lean ground beef

2 cups finely shredded cabbage

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced (optional but good)

1 teaspoon kosher salt or ¾ teaspoon fine table salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Hot pepper sauce, to taste

In bowl of stand mixer, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes until frothy.

Stir in butter, sugar and salt. Add 1 cup all-purpose flour and beat at medium speed until smooth. At low speed, beat in whole-wheat flour and as much remaining white flour until dough comes together in a ball. Knead with dough hook or by hand, adding additional flour as needed, 6 to 8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover dough in bowl and let rest 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large heavy skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Crumble in beef and cook until the pink color is gone. Mix in cabbage, onion, garlic (if you are using), salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until vegetables are tender. Drain well and cool slightly. Taste, adding salt and pepper, plus hot sauce, as needed. They shouldn't be spicy, just well-seasoned.

Punch dough down. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a heavy baking sheet or line with parchment paper or a silpat.

Lightly grease counter or large plastic cutting board with shortening (really, this works!). Stretch and roll the dough to a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Cut into 6 4-inch squares.

Place 1/2 cup filling on each square. Pick up corners of each square and pinch together. Pinch each diagonal seam so square is sealed well, making a fat bun. Place seam-side down on prepared baking sheet.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until well browned on top and at sides. Serve warm or freeze and reheat.

Makes 6 bierrocks.

-- Adapted from the Kansas Wheat Commission


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