Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bierocks (Simplified)

This many were left the next day.
Bierocks are kind of a big deal in the House on the Corner.

They were my father's designated birthday meal when I was growing up, and later they became the treat I took to Boys who were away at college. These little cabbage-filled bread packets freeze beautifully and my sons have reported that they go from freezer to breakfast in a microwaved 30 seconds. Also, they don't require cutlery or a plate so no dinnerware is dirtied in the eating of this meal, and that's pretty much a home run in college apartments.

Boy#2 has been home for a few days and asked me to teach him how to make bierocks. I've been sadly remiss in passing along what few culinary secrets I know, so today I'm going to share my most important kitchen secret, which is:

When I cook, I cheat.

In the kitchen I take every available shortcut, use every convenience, and avoid any actual work. So here's my recipe for Bierocks A La MomQueenbee.

First, start with an actual recipe from an actual reputable source. In the case of bierocks, this one.

Then where it has the first list of eight ingredients, and the first set of directions that involve measuring and checking milk temperature and waiting for the yeast to proof and mixing and kneading 10 minutes and letting the dough rise and punching it down and letting it rise again? Cross all of that out and buy a five-pack of frozen bread dough.
Thaw the bread. The instructions are on the back of the package.

Then buy a three-pound package of hamburger. Do a double-take at the price. HAMBURGER COSTS $5 PER POUND, PEOPLE. HOW CAN THIS BE TRUE? While you are marveling at what the world is coming to, throw some pre-shredded cabbage in your shopping cart. Three pounds of this, too, and do not make the same mistake as I did in thinking each package was a pound. It may not be, and you will roll your eyes at your own slapdashedness when you have to do math and figure out how many ounces short of three pounds you have.
Oh, and if you don't have any yellow onions, grab some of those while you're buying the ground hummingbird tongues hamburger. A bag of them, because if you don't have any, you will need them sometime this week and you don't want to have to go to the store again.

Then put a couple of inches of water in the bottom of the biggest saucepan you have and bring that water to a boil. Dump in the cabbage. (Yes, all three pounds. That's why I wanted you using the biggest saucepan you have.) Put a lid on it and let it steam for a couple of minutes. Take it off the heat before the water all boils away; the smell of burning cabbage is unpleasant.

Throw the ground substance that is more precious than those big-eyed paintings hamburger into the big pan you make soup in. Turn the heat on to a little higher than medium. Chop up the three biggest onions in the bag and throw them in the pan with the meat, then cook it all together until no pink remains. Drain off the liquid, realizing you have paid $5 PER POUND FOR THIS GREASE WATER. Hrmph. Mix the refrigerated rip-off hamburger and cabbage with a tablespoon of salt and a half tablespoon of pepper.

Okay, this recipe is getting longer than Sunday's sermon (which, wow) so I'm going to condense and abridge:
1. Roll one of slabs of bread dough into a 10"x 20" rectangle. It will look more like an amoeba than a rectangle because bread dough is stretchy, but that's okay. Use a pizza cutter to cut it into five-inch squares. (One long cut down from short end to short end, half and half again from long side to long side. Math WORKS, people.)
2. Use your medium sized ice cream scoop to put plops of the ambrosia of the gods hamburger mixture on each of the squares, then pinch all the edges of the dough together and seal the filling inside.
3. Put a dozen or so of these little bundles on a parchment-lined baking pan, then bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Repeat repeat repeat until you are out of dough or filling and all are baked.
4. Eat. Or freeze. Or give away. Whatever. They're yours.

And this is why I'm not a food blogger. I have totally run out of oomph toward the end of this recipe, and this was the simplified version. It's a good thing I cheat or the recipe might have gone on forever.

But the bierocks? They won't last that long.


  1. I love the part about the price per pound of the grease-water.

    The price of hamburger bothers me too. When I was just starting out after college, it was on sale all the time for 99 cents a pound. And that was for the mid-grade stuff, not the cheapest kind!

    1. I know! As I was showing Two how to roll out dough I carried on a running monologue about this, except the price I was citing was 79 cents a pound. Obviously I did not buy the mid-grade stuff.

  2. My husband had never heard of bierocks until we married, and I've never made them- that changes now that I've got this new (easier than any of the other ridiculousness that came up when I googled it) recipe! I think if more food bloggers wrote this way, though, I'd read more food blogs.

    And you can buy frozen bread dough?!

  3. Thank you! I appreciated a good laugh this morning =)!

    At my house, we fill the bread dough with cooked sausage ($2.50 per pound on sale!), cheese, and sometimes black olives. The sausage version freezes well too!