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State Plate Recipe: Kansas’ Bierocks

Culinary legend has it bierocks were created somewhere in Eastern Europe and became popular in the United States in the 1880s when German-Russian Mennonite immigrants brought the recipe to Kansas. The savory, yeast-dough pocket sandwich was a hearty meal wives could easily carry out to their husbands working the fields.

Bierocks

Serves: 24

Ingredients

Homemade Dough:

  • 10 to 11 C all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 pkg. (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2-1/2 C water
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 1/2 C butter in cubes
  • 2 large eggs

Pre-made Dough:

If you do not want to make your own dough, or you do not have the time, you can buy regular or sweet biscuit dough, roll it out, and fill with the mixture.

An alternative is to use frozen yeast dough. Allow it to rise per the package directions then roll the dough out and fill.

Basic Filling:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp. pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 lbs. shredded cabbage, cooked and drained

Directions

For the Homemade Dough:

  1. In a large bowl, add 4 cups of flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, heat water, milk and butter until butter melts.
  3. Remove from heat and allow the liquid to cool. When cool, combine with flour mixture. Add eggs. With an electric mixer at low speed, blend until moistened then beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. A little at a time, by hand, add in enough of the remaining flour to form a firm dough.
  4. Knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes or so, then place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size. It should take about an hour. Once risen, punch down the dough, and allow it to rise again until it almost doubles in size.

For the Filling:

  1. While the dough is rising, get started on the filling. Brown the beef with chopped onion, salt and pepper, and drain. Mix with the cabbage, and set aside.
  2. Divide the dough into four pieces.
  3. Roll each piece into a rectangle, approximately 15 x10 inches.
  4. Cut each rectangle into 5-inch squares. (…and you thought those geometry classes were a waste of time!)
  5. Spoon 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the filling onto each square. Bring the four corners up over the filling, and pinch the sides together to seal. Repeat with until you’ve used all the dough and filling.
  6. Place individual pies on greased baking sheets.
  7. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until brown.

Additional Options for the Filling:

Use:

  • 1/2 venison, 1/2 ground sausage.
  • 1/2 ground chuck, 1/2 ground pork sausage.
  • German or Italian sausage, half cabbage, half sauerkraut
  • Add Sharp cheddar
  • Add 1 T Caraway seeds
  • Add garlic powder
  • Serve with spicy brown mustard for dipping

If you have leftovers, you can freeze bierocks, and reheat for lunch or dinner later in the week. To reheat, no need to thaw. Cover the pie with a damp paper towel and microwave for about one minute, depending on your microwave. Heat in incremental times until it reaches a temperature you like.