Runzas – A Nebraska Tradition:
Cold winter days make these meat filled sandwiches particularly satisfying. In Nebraska, the Runza Restaurant chain made these famous and you cannot go to a University of Nebrasksa sporting event where these aren’t part of the game day diet! Don’t be afraid of the dough. In coming posts we will delve more into the art of yeast dough; both it’s deliciousness and therapeutic value. Enjoy!

4-5 pounds hamburger, browned, drained and set aside.
1 head cabbage, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
4 T Butter

Melt butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add cabbage, onion, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook uncovered until very tender. Drain. Mix with meat and allow to cool to room temperature or put in the frig and use the following day.

Dough: Taken from Mennonite Favorites Cookbook circa 1972 (My beautiful sisters are featured inside the front cover!)

Never Fail Rolls (adapted)
2 pkg yeast dissolved in 2 cups lukewarm water (approx 120 degrees)
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs
2 cups warmed milk (This used to be referred to as scalding and was done over a flame until a thin film formed on the surface of the milk. I warm it for 2-3 minutes in the microwave.)
2 tsp salt
12 cups flour

Slice butter and place in mixing bowl. Pour warmed milk over butter and allow to melt. Then add beaten eggs, sugar and salt. Add yeast mixture. Then add flour 2-3 cups at a time mixing well after each addition. After approximately 6 cups of flour, change to a dough hook and continue to add flour and mix well. You may turn out onto floured surface and knead, but I find with my mixer this is not necessary. Instead, I place in a large Tupperware bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover and let rise until double. Punch down and let rise again. (This process takes a minimum of 2 hours.)

To assemble Runzas:

Divide dough into 4-6 pieces depending on how much dough you like to work with. Roll dough and cut based on what size of runzas you prefer. Place approximately 1/4-1/3 cup of meat mixture on each piece of dough and shape into circle or rectangles; making sure to seal dough on the bottom. Place on greased jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Cover with a thin cloth (My mom always called them tea towels. Where does that come from anyway?) and allow to rise again. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. This is a big batch and can be frozen until ready to use. Simply cool them completely, place in freezer bags and then allow to thaw slightly before rewarming them in the oven. If you have meat left over, you may freeze and it makes a great runza casserole. Simply place refrigerated crescent rolls in the bottom of a 9×9 (greased) pan. Then add meat, a layer of cheese of your choice and then another layer of crescent rolls. Bake at 350 until golden brown and meat is hot.

Note: This roll dough is my “go-to” recipe for cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls and just about anything requiring a sweet egg roll dough. And I have found it to truly “never fail” me! 🙂