Dumpling flavor, stripped down to its essence – The Denver Post

By Alison Roman, The New York Times

NEW YORK — A few years ago, I made the Russian baths a regular part of my New York life. The ritual of the shvitz — steaming, sweating and rinsing — is why I go (health!), but if I’m being honest, I also am very much there for the food (pleasure!).

I eat there not out of necessity, but because it’s low-key and one of my favorite restaurants in town. (I am reluctant to even mention how good the food can be because I still find it to be one of the best-kept secrets in town. That said, I imagine it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to eat sour cream from small plastic cups in a bathing suit and towel, so maybe I have nothing to worry about.)

My order changes every time — pickles, cabbage, soup, pickled cabbage soup — but I always get the pelmeni, tortellini-size dumplings filled with pork, served in a squat ramekin, coated in melted butter and a splash of the cooking liquid. Finished with caramelized onions, lots of dill and a generous portion of sour cream alongside, they are kind of the opposite of a healthy trip to the spa — unless you consider mental health a part of that journey. (I do.)

Every time I eat those little miracles, I can’t stop thinking about how I could write a recipe that approximates them without asking someone to make dumplings (I’d never do that to you) or take a trip to Brighton Bazaar in Brooklyn to buy them. (If you get the chance, the frozen ones are excellent.)