Welcome to week 37 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome Nebraska, who joined the union on March 1, 1867. Prior to its statehood, Nebraska was a sparsely populated area, known more as a pass through to the richer Gold Rush states in the West. But homesteaders began populating the area in the late 19th century and soon developed the land into what is now one of our richest farm states in the US. The state had some early conflicts in its placement of its state capital. It was originally in Omaha, but politics of the time wanted it moved south to Lancaster which was closer to the Platte River. Renamed to Lincoln after the recently assassinated president, it remains the capital today.
When it came to finding a recipe for Nebraska, it was really easy. I actually found my recipe a long time ago and just tucked it away until we reached week 37. What I had found was the Bierock, pronounced somewhat like Brock or Brook in Nebraska (they pronounce it Beer-rock in Kansas), it is also widely known as the Runza Sandwich, named after the restaurant that has made it widely popular in the area. This is a meat pie, something like a Stromboli, but filled with ground meat and cabbage. The original recipe is fairly simple, using just meat, cabbage and onion. I worked with some online ideas to create my own version, which amps up the flavor of the filling.
The Bierock came to Nebraska from Russian-German Mennonite immigrants in the 1880s. Known as Volga-Germans, these people were originally enticed from Germany into Russia by Catherine the Great. She gave them land along the Volga River to farm and created a buffer between imperial Russia and Asia. But during the 1870s, Alexander II rescinded the privileges of the Germans, who then began an emigration to the New World in search of better (and safer) opportunities. They settled in the Great Plains and brought their traditions and foods with them.
I am on a bit of a restricted diet right now, so I am not actually allowed anything made with soy, dairy, eggs seafood or iodized salt. Since my recipe uses both soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, I actually went looking for recipes that could work as substitutes. I worked through a couple and found some nice alternatives. I may put up another blog tomorrow with those recipes, in case you are sensitive to soy or also on the Low Iodine Diet.
The recipe turned out pretty tasty. I liked the filling, but Josh, who is not a vege fan, didn’t care for it. It was a bit heavy on the bread side, but I think that these as a cold dish would actually be better. We had them hot out of the oven, but I am thinking that if that sat and sort of congealed a little, the flavors might permeate the bread and also give it a better texture. Since I have several left over, I guess I will find out tomorrow!
Thanks for good recipe Nebraska. Glad it made some leftovers, so I can have another one tomorrow. See you all next week in Colorado!
Bierocks recipe (my recipe adapted from several sources with my own yummy-ness added in)
1 ½ lb ground beef
1 Onion, chopped into small pieces
½ head of cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, grated
6 cloves of Garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Sugar
Rhodes frozen dinner rolls, thawed
1 egg, beaten
Heat some oil in a large pan and brown the onion until translucent and edges are starting to brown. Add in the shredded cabbage, carrots and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes till the cabbage and carrots are soft.
In a smaller frying pan, brown the ground meat separately. Stir fry until the meat is fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain, then add the meat with the cabbage and onion mixture and stir to mix well.
Add in the rest of your seasonings — Worcestershire sauce, Soy sauce, sugar, salt and black pepper. Mix well and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Take the dough and remove packaging. Take a dough ball and roll it into a 4×4 inch square. Fill with about 1/3 – 1/2 cup filling and roll up like a package. Use a little water on the edge to seal well. Place the seam side down on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper or a silipat. Continue with remaining dough. Note: You may have more dough than you need.
Use a pastry brush to brush the dough on top with the beaten egg. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
When the bierocks are done, take out of the oven and let cool for another 10 minutes. Eat piping hot or let cool completely before storing in refrigerator.