If you know, you know--though, I hate that saying. But in this case, it's true because the runza sandwich (AKA Nebraska bun, bunza, or my personal fave, "funza"--thank you, creative cafeteria ladies, at Rousseau Elementary) is one of the most loved food items across the great state of Nebraska.
I'm told the runza has Czech roots, which may be true. And yes, many cultures have stuffed meat into a bun...Polish pierogi, Italian calzones, Scottish pasties...it's not a new concept. Still, runzas taste delicious and are an intelligent way to get your kids to eat cabbage and onions. Trust me on this.
Fellow Nebraskans might be wondering, why not just buy them from the restaurant? For starters, they're pricey. Second, and this was confirmed by my entire family, the fresh-baked bun made at home is fluffier and softer than the ones from the restaurant because they aren't premade and reheated. And finally, you can use a leaner, higher-quality beef...to me this is key because restaurant beef is almost always CAFO beef (google it) and only 70% lean. Not the best for you.
I was very excited about how they turned out fluffy, hot, and delicious and mentally kicked myself for not making them sooner.
Before you start tips:
1: Get fresh active-dry yeast.
2. Let the filling cool before wrapping up in the dough.
3. Do not over-fill.
4. If you add cheese, again, do not over-fill.
American cheese torn in half or shredded swiss added over the filling mixture is sublime!
Notes: Ground beef is organic, non-GMO, and 85% lean.
Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 packet active dry yeast, 2 tbsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 beaten egg, 1/4 cup water, 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. whole milk, 1/4 cup butter. Filling: 1 lb. ground beef, 1 small sweet onion chopped, 1 1/2 cups chopped green cabbage, 1 tsp. seasoning salt, 1 tsp. black pepper.
Makes 6 runzas.
1. Combine 1 1/4 cups flour into a mixing bowl (or free-standing mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook) with the sugar, yeast, and salt.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with the milk and water until almost hot, about 105-110* F. (You should still be able to put your finger into it without pulling it back out immediately.)
3. Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix slowly to incorporate. Add the beaten egg and continue mixing to combine.
4. Slowly add the remaining flour until fully mixed in, and the dough is smooth and elastic but not overly sticky. You add additional flour by the teaspoon if necessary.
5. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a dish towel, to rise in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled in size.
6. Meanwhile, make the filling by browning the beef with the onion over medium heat, breaking up the beef as much as possible. Drain. Add beef and onions back into the skillet along with the seasoning salt and pepper. Tip in the cabbage and cook for 5 minutes, until the cabbage has softened. Remove from heat to cool.
7. Preheat the oven to 350* F. Punch down the dough and remove it to a lightly floured surface. Form a disk and cut it into 6 equal pieces.
8. Roll out eat piece into a rectangle, roughly 6 x 8 inches. Scoop out 1/2 cup of the filling and lay it onto the bottom third of the rectangle. Fold the dough over the filling, gently pressing to seal. Flip the rectangle over, and place seam-side down onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
9. Bake runzas for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown.
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