If you are just going to have a quick supper, before or after you go out, it is nice to have something simple you can serve at room temperature, with a beer or a glass of wine and a salad. This is a pretty elegant alternative, I think, and not too fussy to make. It would make quite a classy picnic in better weather, and I intend to take wedges to work for lunch. It could easily be the major part of a party-ish lunch for guests, including vegetarians.
From Moscow, via Massachusetts, and adapted from Nick Malgieri's Baker's Tour, Pirog Kapustoi was fun to make, and I think it looks damn cute, too. NM notes that it can also be made with a flaky pastry, if you prefer, rather than the raised dough. I really like the raised dough with a savory pie, though. I've got my eye on another recipe from the same cookbook, which has a brioche-like dough, and a cheese/ham/pea filling. It's a little more of an undertaking, but I think I'll give it a try, too. If you would like to make this freeform cabbage pie, you will need:
warm water one cup
dry yeast 2 1/2 tsp
unbleached APflour 3 cups
salt 1 tsp
unsalted butter, melted and cooled 3 tbsp
finely shredded cabbage-pref savoy 1 1/2 lbs
salt 1/2 tsp
unsalted butter 2 tbsps
1 clove garlic, minced
sugar 2 tsps
hard cooked eggs, chopped 2
tarragon, to taste
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment, and make the dough:
Pour the water into the bowl of an electric mixer, and whisk in the yeast. Add flour, salt and butter, and stir with a rubber spatula. Mix, with dough hook, on lowest speed for 2 minutes. Cover and let it rest 10 minutes. Then, mix on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, til smooth. Plop into a buttered bowl, and flip it to butter all sides. Cover and let it rise til doubled, about an hour.
Toss the cabbage with salt, and wring it out to get as much moisture out as possble. Melt butter, add cabbage, tarragon, garlic and sugar, and cook down, stirring until cabbage is wilted and reduced, and fairly soft. Cool. Fold in chopped eggs. Preheat oven to 400F.
Divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll the dough to a 10" disk, handling as little as possible. If it is resistant, let it rest a bit before trying to extend it further. Transfer dough to parchment covered pan. Spread filling on dough, leaving an outside border of one inch. Grate fresh black pepper over all.
Now, roll out the 2nd half of the dough as you did the first. Brush the outer rim of the bottom crust with water. Fold the top crust in quarters. Set it over the filled bottom crust, with the point in the center of the filling, and unfold neatly. Press around the edges firmly, and roll both crusts in toward the center 1/2". Squash the edges together with a fork, to seal. Cut several vent holes in top crust. Brush all over with water, and bake about 30 minutes, until it is a nice golden color. Cool on a rack, and serve at room temperature.
I added the garlic and tarragon, which I love with cabbage, thinking that the seasoning in the original was a bit subtle for my taste. Even with these additions, this pie benefits from being served with a sharpish sauce, or something pickled. I served it with a sourcream/horseradish mixture; something mustardy would also be good.