Ground Beef and Cabbage Filling for Pockets

I have already posted two new portable food recipes this week, Flourless Nut Butter Cookies and Fruit Juice Gelatin, both of which my husband has greatly appreciated. I have not always been the best at sending interesting things to work with him, so this is a very nice change for him. As my final contribution to the Nourishing Portable Food Carnival (happening tomorrow, the 27th! I am looking forward to your contributions!), I was going to share a more “main dish” idea.

Many a wife sent a husband to work in certain time periods with a little “pocket” of food. She would roll out some of her bread dough and tuck a little meat and veggies in it, perhaps leftovers from last night’s stew, and bake it in her oven for a freshly made lunch each morning. Sometimes she would even put meat and veggies on one side, press down the middle and put fruit on the other for a whole package deal.

Continuing in that tradition, this recipe was inspired from a few Russian cookbooks that I have been reading. They also have many little pocket foods, and so, have many traditional recipes for fillings and doughs. From what I can tell, they didn’t usually mix their meat and vegetables, but I didn’t want to have to make two separate recipes. To avoid that, I combined two of the filling ideas for a meat and cabbage filling. It’s surprisingly flavorful for such a simple recipe. It would also make a great simple and easy dinner just served over rice, with soy sauce added at the table.

Because this is a little more labor intensive than a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I froze most of my recipe (we had some for dinner one night). I take out two the night before I plan on sending them with Joel and let them defrost in the refrigerate overnight. While my husband doesn’t tend to like things cold, he actually thinks these taste great cold (yeah!), so he doesn’t even have to worry about re-heating them. I also wanted to mention that this a fairly frugal meat lunch, especially when you compare it to lunch meats.

I made a sourdough dough that worked wonderfully for this recipe, but I want to test it out a little more before I share it. Meanwhile, you can really make pockets out of most doughs.
You can certainly even just use your bread dough. Just roll it about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. You can also use more rich doughs, like the cracker ones on this site. Meanwhile, here is the filling (remember that you also use this “filling” as a topping for rice for a simple dinner!)

Ground Beef and Cabbage FillingEnough filling for 16 pockets with leftovers

We liked these served with a whole grain mustard on the side!

Prepare a dough using about 3 cups of flour (enough dough for one loaf of bread)

2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil, lard, tallow, or butter
1 pound of ground hamburger
A half of a cabbage, washed and thinly sliced
salt and pepper

1-In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions. Stir occasionally and continue to cook until the onions are soft (but don’t brown them to much).

2-Then add the hamburger and cabbage together, cooking until the hamburger is all the way cooked and the cabbage is soft. Salt and pepper to taste

Now you can serve over rice for a simple dinner, or you can stuff into dough for little bread pockets. To do this divide your dough into about 16 pieces. Roll them out into small circles and place a few tablespoon on one half (made sure you use a slotted spoon to drain any excess liquid from the filling! It would make your pocket soggy!). Fold over the other half and press down to seal. In a preheated oven of 400 degrees bake your pockets until they are lightly brown, top and bottom. Mine, being a sourdough, took a little longer than some doughs and finished in around 30 minutes. Serve right away hot, or send cold in lunches.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. Sarah says

    This is actually almost exactly like one of our family recipes – called Beirocks! They are a German/Russian family heirloom recipe (though I do recommend adding onion and garlic to the cabbage mix – it adds a lot of flavor!) and we eat them spicy mustard and sour cream. These are a family favorite!


    PS – My hubby, who is from Nebraska, calls them Runza’s . . .

    • Jennifer says

      My grandma & grandpa came to America from Russia and I have had these since I can remember and we also called them Runza’s.


      • Kory says

        I absolutely love these my family has always called them Padokes, we like to put just a tad bit of butter on top and some of us eat them with mayo. Now I’m gonna have to make em!

  2. Tina says

    This makes a wonderful filling for stuffed peppers as well…
    you can add organic herbs to change flavor,
    or wrap the filling in blanched cabbage leaves and bake …cabbage rolls without the rice…–Polish version… sometimes I grate some zucchini and add that as well.

    I love your site…use so ma ny of the recipes!

  3. Joanie says

    This sounds a lot like a recipe I had growing up with german grandparents. We called them fleisch cookas (or meat pockets). We always just used a simple flour, salt, egg, and water dough, pan fried them and ate them with catsup or of all things apple sauce πŸ™‚ Of course the spicy mustard sounds really good.

  4. Holly says

    My grandma used to make beriocks all the time! I loved her German recipes. I am going to have to try this to see if it is anything like hers. they were the best comfort food ever!

  5. debbie herrman says

    my husbands family came from russia germans from russia
    and brought the beirock recipe.

    sometimes we use canned drained saurkraut instead of cabbage
    and we also add a pack of dried onion soup mix instead of onion and
    salt. all are wonderful.

    • Kim George says

      I think the drained saurkraut would really add a nice kick to it.
      I’m going to try both really soon, nice to have for a quick meal.

  6. Kim George says

    My Grandmother was German and was sent to Russia via the Queen of that era to populate the Volga River region.
    She made the exact thing in White bread pockets and folded them up like an envelope.
    She called them Gralphiruck but I really do not know how they spelled it.
    I am sure that using whole wheat would make them much hardier than hers but it was also
    an inexpensive dish to make since they had some very lean times.
    Reading over the past posts there are a lot of people in here that have fond memories of their relatives versions of this food.
    Home cooking is coming back via necessity and then we realize how wonderful it really was!
    Thank you for this version Kim!

    • Carol Swank says

      My grandparents were Germans as well who migrated to Russia under Katherine the Great’s reign and came to America very early in the 1900’s. In their status as the “Poor Russians” they made do with many of these wonderful recipes – a lot of starch and very fattening – but then they are worth it! One of my very favorites are “glease”, (sp)filled with apples, cherries or cottage cheese then slathered with sour cream and butter. Truly heaven.

  7. Nanette says

    My German great grandmother made these and we called them Kraut Scroodles. of course they were made with a traditional whie flour yeast dough and baked like little loaves of bread with a saurkraut ground beef and onion filling. We broke them open steaming hot and slathered on the real butter with lots of salt and pepper! Yum!! I miss those (I’m gluten free now) so I will have to try this recipe!

  8. says

    These look like perogies, which we boiled. When we were little my dad made them from a white flour and egg dough and told us they were “puppy dog tails.” He filled them with anything and everything he could find in the kitchen–jam, cottage cheese, hamburger–and we never knew what we would bite into. Sometimes we’d have six or more different kinds in one pot! These days we’d serve them with fried onions and sour cream.

    Speaking of which, a lady ahead of me in the grocery line bought a couple of flats of sour cream so I asked her what that was about and she said she was making perogies. I asked for her recipe and she said she was using equal amounts of sour cream and flour, that’s it. I bought sour cream this week to try that and ended up using it for something else, grrr. Must get on this! Maybe I’ll fill them with bierocks… πŸ™‚

  9. Dani says

    Kim, I have a similar story, except that my grandparents grandparents grandparents (I can’t remember offhand how many generations, but it was in the 1600’s) went to the Volga region, and then my great greats are the ones who emigrated to America in the 1860’s. When I first saw your post, it reminded me of my journey to discovering this bit of family history via

    Nothing like this got passed down on my side, but when I lived in a very German-populated area in Colorado, we had kraut burgers, regularly, and now that I no longer live in that area, I may just have to make some of these and take a walk down memory lane!

  10. Zori says

    My Grandma was born in the Volga region of Russia(her parents were from Germany).She too made these,though slightly different..but we always called them fleisch runzas.I make them now for my kids and they love them….but it will always remind me of my grandparents.

  11. says

    Thank you for the reminder of fun family meals! Bierocks were my birthday meal of choice when growing up. Noone outside of my family has ever known what we were talking about when we mentioned them. Sometimes, we would place the filling in a baking dish, top with rolled out biscuit dough, cut slits in the dough and bake at 350-375 until dough was cooked through. Always, homecanned tomatoes were served as a side. Thank you again for reminding me of childhood family times.

  12. Mike says

    my grandparents were Germans from Russia who settled in Crowley County, Colorado. I grew up having kraut berok or fleish runza as they were often called. My grandmother would tell me when they didnt have meat they would use fried potatoes and cabbage and they are equally as good.

  13. Tammy Haluska says

    I grew up eating these. My grandmother was German and made these a lot. My mother started adding tomato soup to the cabbage mixture for flavor. Love, love, love them! Excellent cold also.


  1. […] can’t find any made to your standards, you can make a similar dish (with a Russian background) using ground beef and cabbage. It can be used both as a filling for “pockets” or served over […]

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