Monday, June 23, 2014

Pastrami Hash Blintzes (Breakfast for Dinner!)


All the components of a great breakfast for dinner:
hash and pancakes!

Blintzes: cheese, potato, or fruit filled are great at any time of the day. These blintzes have a meat, potato and onion filling - making them a great option for...any time of the day!  Think corned beef hash, eggs, and pancakes!

Blintzes (the stuffed crepe-like pancake) are the Eastern European Jewish version of the flat, crepe-like stuffed pancake commonly found throughout Eastern and Central Europe. The un-stuffed pancake itself has a specific Yiddish word: bletlach, which are unleavened wheat-based thin pancakes. And although it's interesting to think of a food as particularly "Jewish," blintzes are are related to blini (Russian), palacinka (Slovakian, Czech, Ukrainian), palacsinta (Hungarian), and  naleĊ›nik (Polish). 

Most people are familiar with the frozen blintzes that have a higher ratio of bletlach to filling. They can be fried, baked, covered with a milk-egg mixture to create a "souffle" or served at brunch in a chafing dish. They are rarely fabulous, but are a common comfort food. During Shavuot, when the custom is to eat dairy-based foods, cheese blintzes are standard fare. 

These blintzes however are a break with tradition. Take a traditional bletlach and fill it with a deli-meat hash. Serve it with a salad on the side and it's a fun meat entree. Make them smaller and serve as an appetizer or starter for Shabbat dinner. I've made the blintzes with both corned beef and turkey pastrami; other choices I'd bet on could vary from beef pastrami to smoked turkey. The filled blintzes were sauteed in very little oil and served at room temperature. 




Choreography:
This dish can be made in about an hour. Make the hash first. This allows the filling to cool while you make the bletlach. Saute in a small amount of oil and serve hot or at room temperature. The blintzes can be stored in a sealed container (either in a single layer or with a piece of waxed or parchment paper separating two layers) for 2-3 days. They can be frozen, but the quality of the blintzes do suffer.

Equipment:
Cutting board, sharp knife
Vegetable peeler
Saucepan, non-stick frying pan
Kitchen scale

Ingredients (for the hash):
There is "wiggle room" to this recipe, all ingredients are approximate. You can adjust the proportion of meat to onions.
1 lb peeled potatoes (suitable for boiling)
3/4 lb cubed deli meat (corned beef, pastrami, smoked turkey, salami, etc)
1/2 lb diced onion

Procedure:
1. Boil the potatoes until just fork tender (approximately 15-20 minutes). Drain and roughly mash with a fork.
2. At the same time the potatoes are boiling, saute diced onion until some pieces begin to brown. Add the diced meat, stir and cook through.
3. Mix the onion/meat mixture and mashed potatoes. Correct seasoning with pepper (there is enough salt in the meat). Cool.







Ingredients (for the bletlach):
The batter should be thinner than regular pancake batter. Add a small amount of water if you find it too thick.
6 eggs (large or extra large are fine)
pinch salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 c water (more if needed)

1. Beat the eggs and salt. Add the water and mix.
2. Pour the flour into a bowl, make a well and add the liquid. Mix with a wire whisk, breaking up any lumps.
3. Heat a small non-stick frying pan. You can spray the pan with oil spray if you like.
4. Ladle a small amount of batter into the pan while simultaneously turning the pan to distribute the batter. It may take one or two tries to master the technique. You want to create a thin round pancake.(see the technique video from Food and Wine )
5. Cook over medium heat for several minutes. The top of the pancake should be dry. Flip the pancake for 10-20 seconds (you want both sides to be cooked and dry, but not crisp. Slide the cooked bletlach onto a plate.

You should have approximately 8-10 bletlach.




Procedure for stuffing the bletlach:
1. Take on bletlach and gently place on a flat surface.
2. Take 2-3 Tbsp of the stuffing and place close to the edge of the pancake.



3. Begin to roll the bletlach around the filling, fold in the sides and continue to roll.



 Easy, right? Yep! 


4. Saute the blintzes, turning as they brown in the pan. Drain (if needed) on paper towels. Serve warm or at room temperature. Condiment ideas include mustard, Russian dressing, cranberry horseradish, sauerkraut or any other creative idea you come up with!