Blinchiki, Crepes, Blintzes or Blini are very common in Russia and across Eastern Europe. They are a Russian version of crepes and a staple in every Russian household. They're eaten at any time of day and alongside a large meal. Of course eating them plain with sour cream is a given, but Meat Blini stuffed with meat, adds a whole new dimension.
Stuffing for Blini
Blini are easy to make, check out the recipe here. We usually make them on a Saturday morning to enjoy for breakfast. However, they are also commonly stuffed as well. This makes them more like a meal, or a dessert with Tvorog.
- Blini Stuffed with Tvorog (Blintzes)
- Stuffed with Bacon and Eggs for Breakfast
- Savory Farmer's Style with Mashed Potatoes and Bacon
You can also stuff them with fruit, but it's more common to make Meat Blini. Any ground meat will work, from ground turkey, ground chicken to beef or ground lamb. I like adding rice to the filling, and even sometimes add thin rice noodles (rice vermicelli). This is probably from the Chinese influence of my parents being Russians born in China. Trust me, it works!
Meat Blini Stuffing
Traditionally, you just season the meat with salt, pepper and fried onion. It can be a bit dry which then makes me add lots of sour cream. But I've found a way to add flavor and moisture to your meat blini. Add some gravy! I'm not talking the made from scratch gravy, but the easy instant gravy. It will add flavor, salt and moisture. Just make sure the gravy isn't too runny. Slowly add it in until you're happy with the consistency.
Baked or Fried Blini
Some people prefer to fry the stuffed blini in a frying pan with oil. That's one way that's popular, especially when making Nalesniki (fried with tvorog). My mom always made big trays of blinchiki that heated in the oven. I think it was quicker for her to make the whole tray to bake, instead of frying them in small batches. Either method works.
It's always a bit of a chore to make Blini. Usually I have 2 frying pans going at the same time to speed things up. This leaves me with a small mountain of blini. It's the perfect meal that you can prepare ahead of time for future meals. Meat Blini (Stuffed Crepes) freeze wonderfully, just make sure they are fully covered from the freezer frost. When ready, just defrost and bake in oven for serving.
So many different methods to make stuffing for Blini. I'm convinced you can't go wrong with it, I could eat them everyday. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Meat Blini with Beef and Rice (Блинчики с мясом)
- 1 lbs /1kg ground beef
- 3 medium onions chopped
- 1 cup thickened beef gravy
- black pepper
- ½ cup cooked rice optional
- Prepare blini according to instructions. Allow to cool.
- Saute the onions until translucent. Add the ground beef and fry until cooked.
- Prepare a cup of thickened beef gravy sauce and add it to the meat mixture. You can skip this non-traditional step and just season with salt and pepper, but this provides moisture and a richer flavour. Add black pepper to taste and allow to cool. Mix in the cooked rice.
- Place one blinchik on the table and put about 1-2 tablespoons of the meat mixture near the centre. It's like wrapping a burrito. Fold the bottom to cover the meat. Fold the sides in, and roll up like an eggroll or a burrito.
- Place the rolled blini into a oven proof dish and pat some butter on top, so it will toast golden brown. Place into a preheated 350°F/180°C oven and bake for about 30 minutes. Serve with sour cream and fresh dill.