My mom and dad travel a lot. They have been around the world a couple of times and they just keep going – everywhere. I was most afraid when they went to Africa because like the song from the 50’s said, “They’re rioting in Africa, la la la la…” , and they were rioting in Africa, and my mom and dad were caught in the middle of it. But I digress.
The reason that I bring up how much they travel is because they have learned that they need to take food with them that is easy to transport, easy to prepare ahead of time, is tasty and nutritious. When they travel, they take either tortillas, with something wrapped up in them, or they make these incredibly wonderful meat pies. These particular ones originated in Finland and are called Lihapiirakat (I dare you to pronounce that – correctly)
The thing that I like most about them is that you can prepare them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for awhile or freeze them for later – they are the original “Hot Pocket”. The other thing that I like is that they are made from items that should be in your food storage.
2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon yeast
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup melted shortening
4 ½ to 5 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 Cups water
½ cup peal barley
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 ½ cups chopped onion
2 Tablespoons water
1 beef bouillon cube
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons dry dill weed (not seeds)
Salt and pepper to taste
For the dough – Scald the milk and let it cool to lukewarm. Add the yeast and dissolve, and add the melted shortening and the salt. Add the flour and knead to make a soft dough. Cover and let rise one hour.
For the filling – Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add the barley. Cover and boil for 15 minutes or until barley is tender. Set aside.
In a large skillet brown the ground beef and onions with the 2 Tablespoons of water until the onions are cooked and tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook until well blended and the meat is completely browned. Drain any leftover water and add the cooked barley, mix well.
To assemble – Roll the dough out very thin on a lightly floured surface. Cut large circles (about 5” in diameter). You can use a small plate or lid as a template. Put a heaping Tablespoon full of the meat mixture in the middle of each circle. Fold in half and moisten edges with water, seal well around edges with a fork or fingers. Before completely sealing, push down on dough an mixture to get all of the air out. Let rise for about 30 minutes.
Pour vegetable oil in large frying pan to a depth of about 2 inches. Heat oil to 375 degrees F. Cook the pies, 2 or 3 at a time, turning to brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels, then cover with a cloth towel to soften the pies. Cooked pies may be frozen and reheated. Makes about 20 pies.
As you have probably guessed by now, you can change the filling to whatever you want such as: a spicier meat filling, broccoli and cheese filling or fresh fruit fillings (non runny) are especially good. Bon-appetit.