One of the Russian foods that were imported to Azerbaijan when the country was a part of the Soviet Union, is the Russian pancake called blini, also known as blinchiki (plural for blinchik) in the Russian speaking world, and as crêpes elsewhere. Blinchiki are great plain, or with a dollop of honey or jam on top. They are also delicious when stuffed with various savory and sweet fillings. Stuffed blinchiki make for a perfect appetizer, or a breakfast dish, or just a go-to snack any time of day. Kids are especially fond of them.
This particular recipe is for blinchiki stuffed with meat. I usually fry the beef that goes inside the blinchik, but you can also boil it then grind finely- great for when are counting calories. Once the blinchiki have been stuffed with the filling, they are typically browned on both sides in a little bit of butter. Or, if you like, skip the frying part altogether for a leaner blinchik.
Meat Stuffed Blinchiki
For the Pancakes:
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk (reduced fat milk is OK)
1 1/5 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the Stuffing:
2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 pound (450 g) ground beef
salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
To prepare the stuffing, heat the butter or oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and beef. Cook, stiring frequently, until the meat is golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and allow to cool while you prepare the blinchiki.
To prepare the blinchiki, in a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until fully combined and the mixture is smooth and there no lumps left.
Heat a lightly greased small griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour the batter into the griddle, using approximately ¼ cup or a small ladleful for each pancake. Tilt the pan slightly to spread the batter evenly. Cook until lightly brown on one side and turn and lightly brown the other. Repeat with the rest of teh batter. Stack the cooked blinchiki on top of each other on a plate.
Now stuff the blinchiki. Put about1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each pancake. Fold the sides and then roll up to obtain an envelope.
Heat a lightly greased griddle or a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the stuffed blinchiki until light brown on both sides. Drain the blinchiki on paper towel lined plates. Serve warm or at room temperature.