World-renowned chef, author and Emmy-winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Russia in the next episode of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," airing Sunday, May 11, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.
The current culinary landscape of Russia can been seen as a microcosm of the country's escalating tensions: Can the Soviet and contemporary era co-exist?
On one side, there are the "dino-era, Russian classics," as Anthony Bourdain couches them - like borscht, blinis, pickled herring and solyanka (a sweet and sour soup typically made with meat, sturgeon or mushrooms).
In this episode of "Parts Unknown," Bourdain joins longtime friend, Moscow-born Zamir Gotta, to ponder criticisms of Russian President Vladimir Putin over something that eases the tension: vodka.
"When you're talking classic conspiracy theories and classically Russian-style paranoia, you want some classic Russian food to go along with it," Bourdain says.
Feed into the debate by making one such dish, an old-school kind of dumpling called pelmeni.
For the filling:
For cooking and garnishing:
In a bowl, mix together the onion, garlic, salt and pepper to taste and 1/2 cup water. Add the ground meat (uncooked) and blend well. Set the filling aside.
Cut off a piece of the dough; roll it into a rope-like shape and cut into bite-size pieces. Put some flour on the work area and the dough pieces to avoid sticking. Press the pieces down gently. Using a rolling pin, flatten the pieces into small, thin discs - about 1 1/2-inch wide. Keep the dough discs covered under the bowl so it stays moist.
Using a fork, place a teaspoon of the filling on the center of each dough disc and fold into a half-moon shape. Pinch the edges of the half-moon together to seal.
Place them on a baking sheet or a big plate dusted with flour. (Pelmeni can either be cooked right away or frozen for later.)
In a pot, bring water to a boil with salt and pepper to taste and a bay leaf. Simmer pelmeni for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain the dumplings and transfer them to a bowl; add the melted butter. Stir carefully. Serve immediately and garnish with some freshly chopped parsley, dill or chives, and some sour cream or hot spicy sauce if desired.
Previously on "Parts Unknown":
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