a nebraska tribute.

I am always searching for recipes using ground beef.  As a cattle feeding family, there is an ample amount of hamburger in the deep freeze searching for its home in the perfect dish.  Our regular routine of spaghetti, sloppy joes, and lasagna needed a change-up.

Enter THE RUNZA.

Those who have lived in the state of Nebraska will immediately recognize this culinary delight.  Others are scratching their head.  Runza is a fast food restaurant and home of the similarly named Runza sandwich.  Nebraskans have a cult-like obsession with them, and after living there for several years, I am also on-board.

To dig a bit deeper, the Runza is ground-beef, onions, and cabbage wrapped in dough (Hot-Pocket style).  You can expand on the original by adding cheese, bacon, mushrooms, etc.

While perusing Pinterest, I stumbled upon a link to a recipe for homemade Runzas.  JACKPOT.  The recipe not only helped me use our stash of hamburger, but it also brought back very fond memories of my time in Nebraska.  I will always carry a piece of that state in my heart, and bringing the Runza tradition to my home is the least I could do!

The Pinterest link lead me to the ladies at “The Test Nest.”  They deserve all the credit for the recipe below:

Runzas – Recipe from The Test Nest

Serves: 12-18 depending on size of Runzas

Dough (can also be used for pizza dough)

4 1/2 to 5 cups flour
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
1 t. salt (or more to taste)
2 packages of yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water (if filling seems dry)
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs

Filling

1-2 pounds of ground beef, browned
1/2 head of green cabbage
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp. of beef bouillon granules (optional, but I included for extra flavor)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Measure 1 3/4 cups of flour into bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or dough hook, stir in sugar, salt and yeast.  Heat milk, water, and shortening in microwave until warm (1 minute or so) pour over flour mixture, and add eggs.  Beat dough mixture on low speed for 1/2 minute, and then on high for 3 minutes.  Stir in remaining flour.  Dough will be soft and sticky, so knead until smooth.

Cover for 20 minutes.  Divide the dough into quarters and roll each quarter out thin.  Slice it into 4 squares and fill each square with a large spoonful of filling.  Surround the filling with dough and pinch edges to seal.  Tuck edges under Runzas and place on a greased sheet pan.  Repeat with the rest of dough.  Let rest for 15 minutes and bake for 13 to 15 minutes.

Here are some photos of the process:

J, my assistant chef, frying up the ground beef.

J, my assistant chef, frying up the ground beef.

Chopped cabbage and onions.  The heart of the Runza.

Chopped cabbage and onions. The heart of the Runza.

Filling the Runzas.

Filling the Runzas.

Enjoying the Runzas!  I dip in ketchup and mustard.  We also roasted some sweet potatoes.  YUM!

Enjoying the Runzas! I dip in ketchup and mustard. We also roasted some sweet potatoes. YUM!

The results were delicious!  J, the Iowa boy, even gave them a thumbs up and classified the meal as a “make-again” dish.  I would encourage Runza lovers and newbies a like to take a shot at this recipe.  It is not difficult, but a bit time-consuming.  It probably took us an hour to prepare and 15 minutes to cook.  (However, we were also distracted by the awesome Creighton vs. Villanova basketball game, so I am sure we could have been more efficient.)  Remember, you can add cheese and veggies to suit your tastes and personalize your sandwich.  It won’t disappoint!

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