Farida’s potato or meat pies, aka Pirojki!

Many of us read food blogs every day and when we come across an interesting recipe or idea we bookmark for our ‘to-do’ list. Sometimes, we see something so delicious and intriguing that it bypasses bookmarking, all other activities halt, and we immediately begin making it. Such is the case with these Pirojki, a baked dough wrapped around a savory potato-meat mixture.

Just last week, Farida of Farida’s Azerbaijani Cookbook posted her recipe for this tasty treat. I couldn’t get them out of my mind and yesterday set to working making them. I didn’t imagine how irresistible they would turn out to be, but I warn you … it’s hard to eat just one.

Farida provides amazing photos, including step-by-step visuals of preparing the dough and forming the buns. The dough is easy to make and work with, very soft and pliable. Aside from the 1.5 hour rising time for the dough, the Pirojki come together quickly and bake off in 20-25 minutes.

You’ll find two filling selections from Farida, one with potato and onion, and another with meat and onion. I debated about the fillings, and seriously considered using a curried potato-pea filling (i.e. similar to a samosa filling). Since Joe isn’t a big Indian food fan, nor is he a fan of vegetarian items, I opted to go a different route. I decided to make a filling using both potatoes and meat, but without Indian spices. (yes, I was reading my Anjum Anand cookbook)

Potato-meat Filling
3 medium potatoes, boiled and drained
1 cup (about 6-8 oz.) minced meat of choice
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. crushed caraway seed
1/2-1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (coriander)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Heat pan with oil, then saute meat and onion until meat is cooked through and onions are translucent. Add caraway, salt, and pepper.

Lightly mash the potatoes. I used a red skinned potato and did not peel them. I like the added color and texture of the skins. Add meat mixture to potatoes and stir to combine. Stir in chopped cilantro. Adjust seasoning if needed.

The Pirojki turned out well — next time, I will do a better job with evenly brushing with egg yolk before baking, but otherwise they are perfect. The bread is tender yet firm while the filling is soft and savory. They make for a perfect snack, but would also work well for lunch or as an appetizer.

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  • Peter M April 7, 2008, 12:41 pm

    Azerbaijan cuisine eh? Great find! I too Allen have been smacked by these recipes that scream to be made instantly.

    Yes, recipes like this skip the cue of bookmarked dishes but hey…who said anything about blog democracy? lol

  • farida April 7, 2008, 12:58 pm

    Allen, I am so happy you made my Pirojki:)) Glad they turned out nicely. Remember I warned in my blog that they go fast?:)) I usually make 2 portions and both potato and meat fillings. I like your filling recipe too. You can stuff the pirojki with any savory filling. Pirojki rocks with any filling:) Thanks again! Enjoy!

  • Peter G April 7, 2008, 4:11 pm

    These look to die for…I’m with you on the whole recipe bookmarking thing. Sometimes you just have to make something straight away. I think the Indian Spices would have worked well in these too.

  • Manggy April 7, 2008, 5:41 pm

    Joe doesn’t like Indian food?! AND vegetarian items?! Argh!! (oh, the prejudices of an omnivore…) These look very delectable. They’re so pretty I think Joe would’ve eaten them regardless of what’s inside :)

  • Kevin April 7, 2008, 6:31 pm

    Those look good! What perfectly golden brown crusts they have.

  • Helen April 8, 2008, 9:08 am

    They are so cute! They are a bit like Cornish pasties aren’t they?

  • Fearless Kitchen April 8, 2008, 9:52 am

    When I first saw this post I saw “priojki” and immediately thought “pierogi,” which were only ever made around my mother’s birthday, always bland and heavy, and usually served with overcooked cabbage. I almost passed on by. I’m glad I re-read the title and looked closer! This looks very tasty and like it could be a lot of fun to make.

  • Erin April 8, 2008, 11:39 am

    These actually seem very similar to the “pierogi” that my grandmother’s friend makes. So can I dip them in something Allen? They look like they want to be dipped :)

  • Katie April 9, 2008, 6:33 pm

    Thanks for the nice comments on my version of these yummy stuffed breads. I, too, grew up in Michigan and am well aware of the pasties up there. I haven’t had one in years but they did come to mind when I made these last night.
    I haven’t run into many people that have heard of them much less been to the upper peninsula!! Thanks again.

  • Salt & Turmeric April 9, 2008, 7:53 pm

    gosh, this one looks sooo good. im putting this into my must-try list. ;)

  • foodieguide April 10, 2008, 11:44 am

    They look just like Cornish pasties! Both inside and outside. Delicious…

    Helen Yuet Ling

  • Anonymous April 16, 2008, 9:43 am

    These Pirojki is also a very popular Ukrainian dish. You can make them with any variation imaginable. My favorites our with a lightly pickled cabbage stewed with mushrooms and onions and sour cherries. You should check out a Ukrainian cook book for more variations.

    Thanks for reminding me how much i love pirojki. I’m going to make a tone of them tonight.

  • Anonymous April 17, 2008, 3:05 am

    can you clarify how to bake the pirojki, cus there is only time 20-25 minutes and bake. at what temperature and how? do you fry it in the vegetable oil or in the oven? if you raise the flour and then fill it with meat and potatoes, isn’t the flour going to shrink back and can’t raise again (you know what i mean, sorry can’t word it nice cuz of my bad english)?

  • Allen April 17, 2008, 8:52 am

    Anonymous — thanks for your questions. Sorry for the confusion, I provided a link in the post to the full recipe instructions at another site. This site describes in detail how to make the dough and how to bake the pirojki.

    The pirojki are baked (not fried) in a 350 degree oven.

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