Sveiks for Latvian Piragi!

When I was in college we had a friend from Latvia, named Calvis. One day his mother came to visit and brought these delectable morsels she called piragi. They were filled with onion, bacon and pork and were so tasty we demolished the entire batch in one sitting. The lovely woman gave me the recipe and I have to say I have been craving these for a while. I finally broke down and made a batch and they were just as wonderful as I remember. Serve these as an appetizer or as a lunch option for the kids, they do very nicely in a lunchbox and can be frozen and reheated on defrost in the microwave to great effect. They are also wonderful as an accompaniment to soup.

Latvian stuffed breads
Latvian Piragi stuffed with bacon and pork

Latvian Piragi

The dough (This is a lovely dough, but you can substitute refrigerated bread dough or even pizza dough if you wish)

1/2 cup (plus 1 T) milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 T sugar
2 tsp yeast
1 egg
2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Heat the milk and butter in a glass measuring cup in the microwave (about 40 seconds on high, you want it warm, but not hot) add the egg to the mixture and stir. Put it in your bread machine or mixer and add the rest of the ingredients. Use the dough setting or just knead it yourself until a nice dough forms. Note: add extra warm milk or flour until a nice dough forms. If you are not using a bread machine, let it rise for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

The filling

1/4 lb chopped bacon
1/2 lb ground pork
1 large chopped onion
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (I like a LOT of pepper)
1 T tomato paste or harissa (optional)

Heat a frying pan and add the bacon until it is crisped, remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel reserving 1 T of the bacon grease. Fry the pork and onions in the fat until the pork is done and the onions are nice and soft.
Add the salt and pepper and tomato or harissa paste if you wish and stir the reserved bacon back into the mixture. Heat for another few minutes, remove from the heat and cool.

Preheat the oven until it is 400 degrees. Form the piragi by making 24 small balls from the dough and flattening each ball with a rolling pin until they are quite thin. Place 2 T of the filling in the center of each round and gather the dough together and seal the edges with your fingers. (you will not need water, the dough will stick to itself.) Place piragi on a baking sheet and let rise for 10-15 minutes. Brush each one with egg wash (1 egg mixed with one T of water) and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a lovely golden brown. Enjoy right away or cool and freeze for future use! Sveiks!

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3 thoughts on “Sveiks for Latvian Piragi!

  1. paul

    What a simple comfort food. Too bad Marti doesn’t eat meat, although she loves bacon. We’ll have to experiment when you come out. No bread machines in the house though!

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