Sunday, February 1, 2009

Recipes to Rival: Beet Leaf Holopchi

This month's Recipes to Rival event (a monthly savoury challenge) gave Kat from A Good Appetite and Equal Opportunity Kitchen an opportunity to co-host. Growing up in Winnipeg, with a large Ukrainian community, it was not uncommon to smell beet leaf holopchi roasting in the neighbourhood. On a business trip to Dauphin, located in Northern Manitoba, I scored when I found a local cookbook that featured beet leaf holopchi. Inspired by the Keld Community Ladies Club in Ashville, Manitoba, we chose a recipe rooted in peasant culture. The beet leaf holopchi recipe depicts the ability of people to take the most modest of ingredients and make them into something entirely delicious.

This is not your usual cabbage roll - can you imagine a bread dough wrapped in beet leaves and baked in a creamy, garlic, onion and dill sauce.

Bread Dough:

2 pkgs. yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 cups scalded milk
4 cups warm water
1/4 cup melted butter
8 cups flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp Sugar
6 1/2 cups flour

Note: When I first saw this recipe I thought it was wrong - how many recipes need THAT much flour. I used the recipe and indeed had to add more to get the right consistency. AND I ran out of dough before I ran out of beet leaves.

The next time I made these I would just go out and buy a frozen unbaked dough - so much easier and I suspect the result would be very similar.


1. Dissolve 1 ts. sugar in 1/2 cup tepid water, sprinkle with yeast and let stand for 10 minutes.

2. To the milk-water liquid add the melted butter, dissolved yeast and 8 cups of flour. Let rise in a warm place until double in bulk (about 1 hour)

3. Add salt, beaten eggs, sugar and remaining flour.

4. Knead well until dough is smooth and top with melted butter or oil.

5. Place in a warm place and let rise until double in bulk. It will take about 2 hours. Punch down . When dough has risen to double in bulk, place a piece of dough, the size of a walnut on a beet leaf and roll up (leaving sides open)

6. Place holopchi loosely in a pot to allow for dough to rise to double in bulk again.

7. Arrange in layers, dotting each layer with butter.

8. Cover tightly, bake in a moderate oven of 350 F for 3/4 to 1 hour. Serve with dill sauce or cream and onion sauce.
(I baked mine longer - about 1 1/2 hours and was happy with the result)


1/2 cup butter
2 cups whipping cream
8 small onions (I used chives)
2 handfuls of chopped fresh dill (this makes the whole dish)
2-4 large cloves of garlic, chopped fine

Melt butter in saucepan. Add onions (chives) garlic, dill and cream.
Let it come to a boil and then turn down the heat.
I like to cook the holopchi with the sauce but you don't have to. You can add it later - just make sure you have enough butter in roasting pan before layering your beet leaf rolls.

For a very saucy holopchi, double the recipe - you'll be happy you did.

The verdict: This is not a 5 minute recipe. When you commit to making it - it's an adventure - most definitely a worthwhile one. This recipe filled an open roaster and a turkey sized roaster



Anonymous said...

That is one serious "cabbage roll"! Sounds delicious, though, even if more work than I'd like to do in a week ;)

Julia said...

This is fascinating! I'm definitely intrigued... I'm glad it was worth the effort!

Ivy said...

Beet leaves are really delicious so I can imagine how tasty this must be. I am curious though,how many beets did you use to make all this dough?

That Girl said...

I'm so glad you're doing Recipes to Rival. I love following that event even though I don't take part.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I have heard of this dish Giz, but in a very naive way and not knowing anything about the complexity of the dish.It sounds delicious.

giz said...

Ivy - I bought 4 small bunches of beets and then asked my grocer if he had any leaves in the back so I got a bunch more. I like Kat's version at A Good Appetite using kale - that would work too.

kat said...

This was a fun one to try

Anne Coleman said...

This is SO different that I can't really imagine the flavor - so you know I'm going to have to make them :)

We're having Donut Muffins for breakfast tomorrow! I'll let you know what the gang says.

giz said...

Kat - labour intensive but with the right amount of sauce - to die for
Anne - can't wait for your feedback - wow - you already know what you're making tomorrow? I can't even remember what I ate today.

Dewi said...

Very unique indeed, I think I'd like this cabbage roll.
Sounds really delicious.

Temperance said...

Those comunnity cookbooks can be real finds. This recipe is definitly a winner. And you are right, the sauce is to die for!

Heidi said...

Your holopchi look great. I thought this recipe was very worth the time and effort. And that sauce could be used on so many different things.

Debyi said...

Yours turned out so good! They look delicious! This was a great & tasty challenge.

grace said...

how unique! i want my first beet leaf to be consumed in this manner. :)

test it comm said...

This is something new to me and it sounds good!

Heather B said...

Great pick! I loved the recipe! Will definitely make again! Thanks!

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