makes about 18 buns
What do you do with leftovers? Some people hate them, considering them past their prime and not particularly good. In my kitchen, I see them as opportunities: they are the building blocks of new and interesting things to eat. These buns put leftover roast beef to make delicious, easy to eat savory snacks.
  • FOR THE POTATO ROLL DOUGH
  • 10 ounces (1¼ cups) warm water
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted or very very soft
  • ⅓ cup potato flakes
  • 1 scant tablespoon instant yeast
  • 4-5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • FOR THE BEEF AND ONION FILLING
  • 1½ cups caramelized onions
  • 2 cups cooked roast beef, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh herbs, chopped, as you prefer (I like parsley and thyme)

prepare the dough for the rolls

I like to use my workhorse 5-quart KitchenAid mixer, but this isn’t a difficult dough, and can be mixed in a bowl and then kneaded by hand. For the mixer version: put water, eggs, 4 cups of the flour, and all the other ingredients directly into the mixer bowl. Mix it with the dough hook until well combined, then turn it off and let the dough rest about 15 minutes. After the rest, turn the mixer on again, and mix until the dough is satiny and smooth. Add a bit more flour as needed, and knead the dough with the hook for about 5 minutes. Turn the dough out into a lightly greased bowl, turn it to coat, and cover the bowl with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled or even tripled in bulk, 60-90 minutes.

Of course these can be simply shaped into ordinary buns and baked: they’re very nice buns. But while the dough is rising, why not assemble a savory filling?

 

prepare the filling

Mix the onions and meat, and season to taste. Season the filling assertively, since the simple dough of the buns will mellow the taste. Set aside for assembly and baking.

 

assemble the buns

When the dough has risen, knock it down and knead it briefly. Divide it into 18 pieces, each about the size of a ping-pong ball. For each bun: flatten the ball into a circle, and stretch it out until you have a thick dough circle about 4 inches in diameter. Spoon some of the filling onto the center of the circle, and bring the edges up to meet in the center. Pinch the edges of the dough together, and slap the resulting ball from palm to palm, so that you have a smooth rounded bun. Place it, seam side down, on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Continue with the others.

Note: when I made these this week, I ended up with 18 filled buns on two half-sheet pans. They had plenty of space to rise and bake.

Cover the rolls with clean tea towels, and let them rise again until they are puffy, 30 to 45 minutes. Heat the oven to 350˚F.

Bake the rolls, uncovered, about 30 minutes, until they are golden brown. Remove them from the oven and slide them onto a rack to cool. We like them warm, but my family fights over them even when they have cooled.

 

storage

Be sure to store any uneaten buns, well wrapped, in the refrigerator. To be honest, I have no idea how long these might keep: in my kitchen, one might make it to the next day, but inevitably it will be discovered and eaten, leaving no telltale crumbs to indicate who stole it.

 

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