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I love ravioli, dumplings, tortellini, wontons, well pretty much all filled pastas and dumplings. Recently, a new product appeared in my local grocery store – Popkoff’s Pelmeni. Wondering what Pelmeni is? Let me tell you.
Pelmeni is an authentic Russian filled dumpling. Hundreds of years ago, women in Russia and Siberia would make thousands of these dumplings using natural ingredients, then freeze and store them outdoors until they were ready to be cooked. Fast forward to 1965, which is when Popkoff’s started making Pelmeni here in the US.
Popkoff’s prides itself on using exceptional craftsmanship, resulting in a superior product with authentic flavors and Old World charm. They use only high-quality 100% all-natural ingredients to make the best-tasting and cleanest products possible: non-GMO King Arthur Flour; Mary’s Free Range Chicken, which is air-chilled and free from antibiotics and steroids; and Meyer Natural Angus Beef, which is free from antibiotics and steroids. Products are completely free of preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, soy, or fillers. Varieties of Pelmeni currently available include:
- Pelmeni with beef
- Pelmeni with chicken
- Pelmeni with pork and beef
- Pelmeni with veal and pork
- Pelmeni with Farmer’s Cheese
Popkoff’s also makes Vareniki, another authentic Russian dumpling similar to a stuffed ravioli or pierogi. Varieties of Vareniki currently available include:
- Vareniki with beef
- Vareniki with chicken
- Vareniki with cabbage and carrots
- Vareniki with cheese and cherry
- Vareniki with potato and onion
- Vareniki with sweet farmer’s cheese
“Not only do we pride ourselves on keeping these traditional recipes of Eastern Europe alive, but we have gone to great lengths to make them with only the best ingredients,” says Popkoff’s President Alex Meseonznik. “You’ll never find a long list of unpronounceable ingredients listed in our products—just common ingredients your grandmother would have used.”
I haven’t found most of the Vareniki in my area yet. But, I did find some of the Pelmeni. I have tried both the Pelmeni with chicken and the Pelmeni with beef. The Pelmeni is very convenient and super easy to make. It only takes 5-6 minutes to cook the product once you take it out of the freezer. The Pelmeni is very tender and quite tasty. To me the texture of the Pelmeni itself reminded me of the wontons you find in fresh wonton soup or a tender tortellini.
Traditionally, Pelmeni and Vareniki are boiled, sautéed with butter, and topped with dill, sage, rosemary, or caramelized onions and a dollop of sour cream. However, they are extremely versatile and can be prepared in endless styles of cuisine from Chinese Chicken Salad to Mexican Sope. They inspire innovation in the kitchen since they work well with a variety of herbs and sauces and can easily be added to soups and salads. They can even be fried for a texture and crunch. The Pelmeni and Vareniki can be prepared as a main course entrée, accompaniment, or appetizer, and are also great for entertaining.
I wanted to create a main dish with the Pelmeni. We often have pasta with butter and seasonings here. While I could have cooked the Pelmeni in that traditional manner, I wanted to serve it with a sauce that would complement the flavor of the meat inside of the Pelmeni. So, I decided to go with my creamy garlic cheese sauce. Here’s how I made it.
Popkoff’s Pelmeni with Creamy Garlic Cheese Sauce
- 2 packages Popkoff’s pelmeni with chicken
- 1 cup double cheddar cheese
- 1 cup half and half
- 4 tbsp minced garlic
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
Prepare Pelmeni by boiling according to the instructions on the package.
Place butter and minced garlic in a saute pan and heat, stirring often.
After about a minute, add in the half and half.
Stir well and often for about a minute.
Add in the shredded cheese. Stir well and often until the cheese has melted and blended.
Drain the Pelmeni.
Pour the sauce over the Pelmeni and serve immediately.
Popkoff’s Pelmeni and Vareniki are available in 10-ounce packages in retail stores across the country. For more information and a store locator, please visit www.popkoffs.com. You can also find Popkoff’s on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.