Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nebraska Beef Buns

I came across this recipe in the latest issue of Cook's Country  magazine and couldn't resist giving it a try. It's a regional favorite (also known as "runsas" or "bierocks") that features a soft and tender yeast roll that's filled with a mixture of ground beef, cabbage and cheese. It seems like a fussy recipe but in actuality, other than the time it took for the yeast dough to rise, this dish came together quite quickly and easily. Plus the dough was a dream to work with. My brain is already at work thinking about what else I could fill these buns with.

Nebraska Beef Buns
~makes 12~

Note* We liked these buns served with ketchup.

the filling
4 t. canola oil, divided
2 lb. extra-lean ground beef
salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped fine
4 c. finely chopped green cabbage (about 1/2 a small head of cabbage)
1 c. low-sodium chicken broth
8 oz. Colby-Jack cheese, shredded (about 2 c.)
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. water
6 T. unsalted butter
1/4 c. sugar
3 1/2 - 3 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. instant or rapid-rise yeast
1/2 t. salt
1 egg lightly beaten, plus 1 egg beaten with 1 T. water

1. Make the filling: Heat 2 t. oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat until the oil just begins to smoke. Add the ground beef, 1 t. salt and 1 t. pepper and cook, breaking up the meat until the liquid evaporates and the meat starts to sizzle, 10-15 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.

2. Return the pot to the heat, add the remaining oil and onion. Cook until just starting to brown, 2-3 minutes. Add drained beef, cabbage and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, cover pot and cook until the cabbage is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until the liquid completely evaporates and the mixture begins to sizzle again, 5-7 minutes more.

3. Transfer this mixture to a bowl and let cool for 15 minutes, then stir in the cheese and let cool to room temperature.

4. Prepare the dough: Grease a large bowl and set aside. Combine milk, water, butter and sugar in a microwave-safe container. Microwave until it reaches 110 degrees, 1-2 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or you can do this by hand as well), add 3 1/2 c. flour, yeast and salt. Mix to combine. With the machine running on low, slowly add in the milk-butter mixture, then the lightly beaten egg. Mix until dough comes together, about 3 minutes.

5. Increase speed to medium-low and mix until dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl but sticks to the bottom, about 8 minutes. If at about the 4 minute mark the dough still looks wet and sticky, add in the remaining flour, 1 T. at a time until the dough looks as it should. Transfer dough to the greased bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap, let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 40-60 minutes.

6. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower middle-positions and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into a ball. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes.

7. Working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping the remaining dough covered in plastic wrap while you work. Roll out into an approximate 5 1/2 inch circle. Using a 1/2 c. measure, lightly pack the measuring cup with the beef mixture. Scoop out onto the rolled out dough. Bring the edges of the dough up the sides of the filling and pinch the seams together to close the dough around the filling. Place seam-side down on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Place 6 buns on each baking sheet, placing 2 inches apart. Cover baking sheets with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.

8. When risen, remove plastic wrap and brush each bun with egg/water mixture. Place the baking sheets, one on the upper rack, the other on the lower rack, and bake until golden brown, 22-25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets, front to back and top to bottom, halfway through the baking time. Remove buns to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe source: adapted barely from Cook's Country Magazine


  1. Meat pies do rate around this house. The fact that the filling is in a fluffy roll does get my attention. Great flavors and all of nutrition from that cabbage-these are hard to resist! That second picture really does make me want these. Thanks for posting this-yum!

  2. Those look positively delicious!

  3. Those look great, so great I am going to add them to my Mouth Watering Mondays post. Come and check out what I am up to on Monday at Cheers, Tara

    1. Thank you so much Tara! I love your blog by the way! :)

    2. Thanks so much. Mouth Watering Mondays is up now!!

  4. Oh these look just amazing! I'm thinking of trying a version with pizza ingredients and then one with taco ingredients!

    1. I know, before I even finished them I was trying to come up with other fillings that could be used here. The possibilities are endless! :)

    2. I may have to mess with my hubby with this one. He'll THINK I just baked rolls for dinner and let him think I've completely lost my mind. (0;

  5. I've never heard of these but they look like something our family would enjoy. I'll have to try them soon, thanks!

  6. Wow, would my hubby love these! I love how relatively easy they seem. Thanks for sharing:)

  7. These would go over in a HUGE way here! Pinning these for later!

  8. I love these! Midwestern empanadas. Your photos are beautiful.

  9. This is a great recipe. I love making bread, but never thought of adding a filling to buns. Perfect!

  10. These look amazing, any dough stuffed with meat is my kind of dish. I'll take all 12 please!

  11. My sister-in-law made these for supper tonight, and they were DELICIOUS!!!!

  12. I made these from the magazine and lost it. I am so glad you posted it on here! My family loved these. I have thought what about filling with bbq???

  13. I'm from Nebraska and these taste just like the ones my mom made when I was a kid! Thank you for the recipe and the memories!