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Traditional Russian Chebureki Recipe | A Fried Meat Pie

A traditional meat and onion fried turnover that is a popular street food in Russia, Ukraine the Baltic Region and the Caucasus. It is the national dish of the Crimean Tatars, the indigenous people of Crimea. With the help of a modern invention, the food processor, this meat pie is actually very easy to make. Like most loved recipes, each family will have their own special version of this traditional food.

Half of a Chebureki.

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What is a Meat Turnover?

A meat turnover is a savory hand pie. Meat and other savory ingredients are placed on a piece of dough, folded over and either baked or fried. Some examples include British Cornish Pasty, Colombian Empanadas, Middle Eastern Borek, Indian Samosas and Italian Calzones.

FAQ

  1. Can Chebureki be frozen? – Yes! They can be frozen raw or fully cooked. Simple spread on a baking sheet, freeze, then add to a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. When they are individually frozen, they don’t stick together. If freezing raw turnovers, thaw first before frying in oil. If freezing cooked ones, bake in an oven at 425F until hot and crispy, about 15 minutes or so.
  2. What kind of oil to use for frying? – Any neutral tasting oil that has a high smoke point such as canola, sunflower, vegetable or grapeseed.
  3. Can I add spices and herbs? – Yes, absolutely, make it your own. Think of flavor profiles so for a Mediterranean flavor add oregano and thyme. For a Middle Eastern flair, add cumin and coriander. For Indian flavors add curry powder and Garam Masala. You can always add heat too such as paprika or other chili powders.
  4. What to serve with Chebureki? – Traditionally, sour cream is served with this turnover. I have also eaten it with creamy salsa verde. It is absolutely not traditional to eat it with salsa but I just really like Herdez’s salsa line.

How To Make Chebureki

I made this recipe using a food processor. If you are thinking of getting one, there is a link in the recipe card for a Cuisinart, the newer version of what I have now.

The dough can be made first in the food processor and allowed to rest while making the filling. The filling ingredients can be added to the food processor after the dough is made, without cleaning it, too easy. Simply add the ingredients in the correct order and you have a Chebureki filling ready to go. Form the pies and fry. That’s it!

A fried Chebureki.
Serve with sour cream.

Half of a Chebureki.

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Half of a Chebureki.

Traditional Russian Chebureki Recipe

Yield: 12 pies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

A traditional Russian meat turnover, Chebureki is made with beef and gets its flavors from onions, garlic and parsley. The crunchy, chewy dough gives way to the savory meat filling. This easy adaptation utilizes the food processor for all of its pre-fry prep. The ingredients are easy to find and all you need is a food processor and a large skillet or pot for frying.

Ingredients

  • 480 grams of all-purpose flour (4 cups)
  • 2 tsp table salt (divided)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water (divided)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 large onion (yellow or white)
  • 2 Tbs dried parsley
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • cooking oil such as canola, vegetable, sunflower seed, grape seed

Instructions

  1. Weigh out the flour on a kitchen scale. Alternatively you can use 4 cups of sifted flour.
  2. Add flour, 1 tsp of salt to food processor. Hit the pulse button 5 times to mix the salt and flour evenly.
  3. Add olive oil and water to food processor and process until the dough forms into a ball and pulls away cleanly from the sides. After one minute if the dough appears too wet, add more flour a little at a time until the dough forms a ball. Remove from processor and place dough ball in a plastic bag or wrap with plastic wrap, letting all the air out.
  4. In the bowl of the food processor (there should be minimal dough crumbs left and that's OK), add onion, garlic, parsley, 1 tsp of salt and pepper. Pulse several times until the onions are well chopped but not pulverized. Add ground beef and water and process until very smooth. Set aside.
  5. In a large skillet (or dutch oven pan to prevent splatters), add enough cooking oil to measure one inch. Heat over medium heat. The oil is ready for frying when it reaches 350F or when a wooden chopstick or wooden tooth pick immediately forms bubbles when immersed.
  6. While keeping the remaining dough in plastic to prevent drying out, take out a golf ball-sized amount and roll into a round ball. Place dough ball on a well floured surface, sprinkle a little more on top of ball and on rolling pin. Roll out dough into a thin circle and place under a damp kitchen towel or piece of plastic. Roll out a second dough circle.
  7. Place a few tablespoons of beef mixture over half of the dough circle and spread evenly and thinly. Fold over the other side of the dough circle and wet the edges of the dough with water. Crimp edges with a fork. Repeat with second dough circle.
  8. Gently place meat pies in hot oil, be careful of splatters. If the pie is not crimped well, some of the filling will spill out of the pie an into the oil. Have a mesh screen ready. Flip pie over with spatula when the bottom is golden brown. Cook the other side then remove from oil and drain on wire rack or paper towels.
  9. Repeat this process, two pies at a time until all pies are cooked.
  10. Serve immediately or see notes below for storage solutions.

Notes

- This traditional Russian recipe is only seasoned by salt, pepper, onions, garlic and parsley. For spicy variations, try adding your favorite paprika or chili powder such as Aleppo, Kashmir or Gochugaru.

- You can also substitute some of the water in the meat mixture for salsa rojo or salsa verde.

- If you aren't serving immediately, you can freeze them. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper, place fried meat pies so they aren't touching and freeze overnight. When the pies are frozen solid, place in gallon freezer bags and either squeeze the air out or use a straw in a narrow opening and suck the air out. Will keep well for one month. To re-heat, place a wire rack on a baking sheet, place pies. Bake at 475F until you hear sizzling, turn over and cook a few minutes more. Serve immediately.

- I enjoy these pies with sour cream smothered on top, sometimes with salsa verde. I know this isn't traditional but the sour cream is a perfect companion to these deep fried savory pies and I shamelessly put salsa verde on A LOT of things, especially eggs.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 268Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1035mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g

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Chebureki Wikipedia

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