Friday, June 27, 2014

Amy Theilen's Runzas

I've been putting off writing this blog post about Amy Theilen's Runzas, but couldn't quite figure out why I'd so thoughtlessly leave you in the dark because this recipe is absolutely fan-freaking-tastic. After thinking long and hard, NO good reason evolved as to why I shouldn't shout to the world "cook this recipe, now!!" because it. is. that. good. And then - the lightbulb lit up - I knew why I couldn't quite start blogging about Amy's recipe, because it is epic. Every bite transcends you to Grandma Rita's house circa 1986, sitting atop the gigantic propane tank named "The Silver Horse," the bassett hound licking your ankles, family all around, laughter, sunshine, happiness, a soft pillow of runza dough inside your knubby childhood hands. There is no excuse heady enough to warrant why you are not taking the time to proof yeast, rise dough, knead dough, make a filling, roll out each individual ball, stuff, wrap into little packages, rise again and bake. Whew, I'm tired rereading that, but then I'm just totally energized and want to run, no, sprint to the market and restock for another runza making day.


A drizzle of olive oil on a large baking sheet and you've begun your runza making episode. See Amy in the background? We're girlfriends. 
The filling was cooked up early in the day, because you know, life got in the way. The filling is a  pound and a half of ground beef, an onion, garlic, fresh kale, shredded carrots, dried thyme and rosemary. After I cooked that up, I covered the pan and set it aside on the countertop until I had time to make the dough later in the day. 
Next, was the dough. If you have a stand-up mixer I'd recommend that for the mixing and kneading, but kneading your own dough can be therapeutic, but more labor-intensive. After you proof the yeast, mix in the flour, eggs and sugar the dough rests for about 15 minutes. Then you add the remaining flour to make a nice sticky dough. You give the dough a chill for an hour or up to overnight - which would you give the option to make this ahead of time giving you more time for patio drinks with girlfriends.
Roll out your dough balls so that they have four little "wings." Plop the filling in - about a 1/3 cup - then fold 'em up. Make sure all the corners are sealed and place seam side down on your oiled baking sheet. Let them rise for another hour or so. 
After they rise for a bit, wash them with egg wash and bake off.
Now bite in.


Printable Recipe Here

Amy Theilen's Runzas
adapted from The New Midwestern Table

Dough
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Pinch plus 3 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs - 3 for dough, 1 for egg wash
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing bowl
2 teaspoons fine sea salt

Filling
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup kale, chopped fine
1 large carrot, shredded
1 teaspoon each dried rosemary and thyme
1 tablespoon oil, for greasing cookie sheet

While assembling your dough ingredients, run your tap water to get the water temperature good and hot. Once the water looks steamy, measure into a measuring cup. Toss in yeast and sugar - give that a stir and set aside for 10 minutes, or until foamy. Whisk in the 3 eggs and pour into the bowl of a stand-up mixer. Add half of the flour and stir using the dough hook attachment, on low for 2 minutes, until combined well. Add in the remaining sugar, flour, butter, and salt, mix well. The dough will be sticky. Let dough rest for 15 minutes. 

Using the dough hook attachment of your stand-up mixer, knead dough on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a well-buttered bowl, cover, and allow to rise at room temperature for one hour. Move the dough to the refrigerator and chill for 1-2 hours, or up to overnight. 

Remove the dough from the refrigerator to a floured surface and divide into 8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball and set aside to warm to room temperature. 

Meanwhile, make the filling. Preheat a large (preferably) cast-iron skillet over moderate heat. Add the ground beef, break it up, but don't move it around too much -  let it caramelize and get brown, about 8-10 minutes. Once the meat is about cooked through, season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped onion and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in kale and carrot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Season the mixture with the dried herbs and remove from heat, set aside at room temperature until dough is ready. Note: Mixture can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature when ready to use. 

Prepare your baking pan by massaging a little bit of oil onto the whole surface. Set aside. 

Working with one dough ball at a time, using a floured rolling pin, roll dough to about 1/4" thickness, trying to roll out the four corners a little bit wider than the center, like the dough has four wings. Scoop 1/3 cup of the meat mixture into the center of the dough. Working with one corner at a time, fold into the center, until all four corners are folded over itself. Tuck in any odd pieces and make sure the dough is sealed shut. Place seam side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Continue working with remaining dough balls and filling until finished. Set baking sheet on the counter, uncovered, allowing the runzas to rise for another hour. 

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Make an egg wash with the remaining egg - crack the egg into a dish, add a little water, whisk well. Using a pastry brush, brush a little egg wash on each runza. Bake the runzas until golden brown, 25 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature. Reheats surprisingly well in the microwave.