Perfect dipped in your favorite sauce.
With these Nebraska meat pies you get soft, buttery rolls filled with meat and veggies and baked to perfection. If you’re thinking that this sounds like a pasty you’re not entirely wrong. But, these pies have a yeasted dough which makes them so incredibly tender.
The filling is a simple one of meat and cabbage, but flavored just so. Taken altogether it’s a unique treat that Nebraska is known for- thanks to the local German and Russian immigrant populations that popularized these European style hand pies there for generations. They have become a staple of Nebraska cuisine that’s popular at restaurants and bakeries, including ones known as runza. And, now you can make them at home!
To make these pies you’ll first need to let your dough rise for 1 hour. Then roll the dough into small rectangles to be filled. If the rectangles aren’t perfect that’s ok as you can trim the uneven parts as you go.
To make the pockets first fold over the edges of the long sides into the middle, then press down on the short edges to seal. Then place them seam side down on the pan to bake.
A little brush with some melted butter before they go into the oven guarantees they turn the most perfect shade of golden brown.
Serve these Nebraska meat pies with a bit of mustard (German mustard is my favorite with these) or some ketchup for a meal or a snack that’s portable, filling, and full of delicious flavors.
Nebraska Meat Pies
Makes about 10 pies
1h 54m prep time
50m cook time
For the dough:
- 1/2 cup warm (not hot) water
- 1 (.25 oz) packet active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
For the filling:
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- black pepper to taste
- 3 cups chopped green cabbage (about 1/2 large head)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon white pepper (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
For the dough:
- In small bowl combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Stir gently to combine and leave to activate for 5-10 minutes. Mixture is ready when it’s foamy.
- Combine yeast mixture with milk, butter, flour, and salt. Knead for 4 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place, like on top of stove with oven set to lowest temperature or inside the oven on proof if you have the option. Let rise for 1 hour.
For the filling and preparation:
- While dough is rising heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet or a stockpot over medium heat. Add beef and onion and cook for 10 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and scoop into a bowl. Add remaining oil to skillet and add cabbage to pan. Add remaining salt. Cook for 15 minutes or until wilted. Remove from heat.
- Add Worcestershire sauce and white pepper to cabbage. Add beef and onions back to pan. Stir well to combine. Allow to cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Punch dough down and roll into 10 equal balls. Roll first ball into a 6”x8” rectangle on floured work surface. Fill one side with 1/2 cup filling and wet edges of dough. Fold over to have short ends meet. Pinch all edges to close.
- Place seam side down on lined baking sheet. Repeat filling steps for each pie. Allow pies to rest and rise for 20 minutes.
- Brush tops of pies with melted butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with mustard or sauce of choice to dip in.
Recipe adapted from Food Network.