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Serves 6 to 8


Kulebyaka is a classic Russian dish that is traditionally made with either salmon fillets or cabbage.  This version uses brown rice, kasha or bulgur as a filler.  This vegetarian version makes an excellent centerpiece dish to substitute for the turkey, ham, goose or roast beef which usually takes pride of place at a holiday dinner.   This is an updated version of its Renaissance ancestor.  The original would have been made with a far less enjoyable crust.  

1 recipe Perfect Pastry or your favorite pastry

2 cups of cooked brown rice, oatmeal, kasha or bulgur


2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 stalk of celery, diced

1 bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 cups sliced mushrooms

Photo of Lihamurekepiiras (meat pie, Finland, Christmas)

1 teaspoon mixed dry herbs – (Italian seasoning)

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg – (optional)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon – (optional)

1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds - (optional)


About 3 cups of shredded cabbage

2 eggs, lightly beaten *

Salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste


Make your pastry and chill while you prepare the filling.  Cook the rice, kasha or bulgur and set aside to cool.


Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until pinkish and translucent.  Add the celery, bell pepper, mushrooms and herbs and spices and continue to sauté over moderate heat until soft.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.  Add a bit more oil to the skillet and gently sauté the cabbage until wilted and just beginning to brown.  Add to the other vegetables and set aside to cool.  When cooled, add the eggs or flax seed powder and mix well.


Preheat the oven to 500° or 550° degrees.  Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and divide the dough in half.  Working on a lightly floured surface, gently roll the pastry into a rectangle approximately 9 or 10 inches by fourteen or fifteen inches.  Cut this into an oval.  Line a baking sheet with baker’s parchment.  Carefully roll the oval of pastry onto your rolling pin.  This makes it easier to lift the dough onto the baking sheet.  Just unroll it onto the baking sheet and it won’t tear or stretch.  If you prefer, you can gently fold the tough up and transfer it to the baking sheet, then unfold it. 


Now, pile the filling onto the pastry and form into an even, oval shaped mound, leaving about half an inch of tough uncovered all around the outer edge.  Make an egg wash by lightly beating one raw egg with one tablespoon of cold water.  Use this to paint the rim of exposed dough.  Roll out the second half of the dough and cut into a second oval that is about two inches all around larger than the first one.  Again, carefully lift the dough and lay it over the mound of filling.  Tuck any excess dough from the top sheet under the bottom sheet.  Now crimp the two sheets of dough together all around the edge to seal them together.  Cut a hole in the center of the top that is about a half inch in diameter.  This is to allow steam to escape.  Paint the surface with the egg wash.  If you wish, you may decorate the top with leaves cut from scraps of dough.  After they have been added, paint them with egg wash as well. 


Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for five minutes.  Then reduce the heat to 350° and bake for about forty-five minutes.


264926  © Teubner Foodfoto  Kulebyaka (Mince and cabbage pie, Russia)
Allow to cool for about five minutes before you try to lift it.  You will have to use two large spatulas or pancake turners to gently lift it off the baking sheet and place it on your serving platter.  If you garnish the platter with sprigs of fresh herbs, grapes, cherry tomatoes, etc. this delectable concoction can easily be as spectacular a center piece of your holiday meal as the traditional roast turkey.  Serve with a boat of Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy


* Vegans use 2 tablespoons of flax seed powder

The English Country Kitchen

        Copyright © 2008 - Geraldine Duncann

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