- Fried bread
- Fantasy Food
Veroniki with Cream Sauce:
Tabletop Roleplaying Game Actual Cook
This was I think the first recipe I ever published. I was writing for Earthdawn Journal, a third-party quarterly licensed fanzine for the Earthdawn tabletop roleplaying game from FASA. Lou Prosperi, who was the line developer, looked at this piece, and at the stream of cities, creatures, magic items, and adventure hooks I usually churned out, and kind of shrugged and said what the heck.
It was the highest rated article I ever wrote, according to the voting on the reply cards included in the issue and mailed in by the readers.
I've made this many times over the years for my Earthdawn roleplaying groups, and the recipe has spread. It has only a distant relationship to the pasta-type veroniki you may be more accustomed to, being a yeast raised dough and a sausage filling, and served with a cream sauce vaguely like a more heavily spiced bechamel.
There is a vegetarian filling option in the PDF linked from this post. If you try it, you'll want to lean into the spanakopita filling type of thing it's got going on. Remember that liquid in the filling is the enemy of getting a good edge seal on the pastry. Drain the veg filling in a colander over the sink, or hang it up in a bag like you do for paneer.
I'm an Old White Hippie. This is my kitchen. If the title weirds you, as it seems to do some people, it's a self-deprecating joke. Some of my BIPoC friends find it amusing that an old white hippie is posting classic hippie-granola-commune-big batch type vegetarian food, and the occasional foray into fancy ethnic cooking, like making my own pipián from scratch instead of buying a jar of Doña Marie's like a sensible person. Let's get to the veroniki, this is a complicated one.
PREP TIME30 minutes
Cook TIME2 hours
- 1 lb sausage
- 1 onion, chopped
- Generous dash cinnamon
Ingredients marshalled for the filling. I'm using turkey sausage, as I'm not able to have beef or pork roll sausage. It's complicated, don't ask. Because the original recipe asked for sage sausage, I threw in a generous sprinkle of rubbed sage early in the process.
Fry up the sausage with the onion. This is where I added the sage, to compensate for not using a pre-seasoned sausage. I also tipped in just a few drops of olive oil, to make up for the lack of fats in the poultry-based sausage.
When the sausage is mostly done and the onions are getting translucent, add the cinnamon. From this point on, the goal is to have a dry mixture. Let any liquid cook off that wishes to do so.
Turn the filling out on a few layers of paper towels and let it go cold, or at least down to room temperature. I made the filling a couple of days ahead and kept it in a Ziploc with the air squeezed out in the fridge. It was ready to use right out of the bag.
- 2 to 3 cups flour
- 2 tbsp yeast
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 tbsp softened butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp dark ale
- Lemon zest
Ingredients marshalled for the dough. I used the last of a bag of whole wheat flour and then the bread flour you see here until the dough was bouncy. I had no lemon zest, shocking, I know, and so I just left it out, didn't have anything that seemed appropriate to compensate for the lack of citrus.
This is 2 tbsp of milk mooched out of the cup, 1 tsp of sugar mooched out of the quarter cup, and the yeast, mixed as thoroughly as I could get with a table fork. This will later turn into a seriously solid sponge, like a mother of vinegar. I needed the small rubbertongue to get it into the mixing bowl.
This is three eggs, beaten, be darned if I was gonna toss out three egg whites, or go to the trouble of separating three eggs. I wrote the original recipe, I got just as much right to tweak it as anybody else. Which is to say, if you see a way to do this different, take a picture and let me know how it turned out. Guy I used to game with filled the dough with ham and cheese and made his own hot pockets.
This is three eggs, the rest of the sugar, and the butter, whipped until frothy, I guess? I'm out of practice on this recipe, and need to brush up on my technique.
All the previous step results, the egg mix, the yeast sponge, and the remaining ingredients, milk and ale and salt, go into the mixer bowl, and under the dough hook on the lowest speed. At this point, patience is my friend. I added the tail end of the whole wheat flour, maybe a cup left, and let that work for a few to wake up the gluten in the heavier flour. Then I started adding bread flour, from a brand new bag, three heaping teaspoons at a time, letting each work in well before the next, and stopping the mixer every now and then to get the dough off the hook and refolded.
The final dough before resting for the first rising. At this point, it had a firm, slightly bouncy texture,
The dough, resting for the first rising. With luck, in an hour, it will have doubled in bulk. (SPOILER: It didn't.)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Generous dash nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
Ingredients marshalled for the sauce. Milk not shown, it was in an earlier photo and doesn't get to double-dip. I got this started about fifteen minutes before the dough was supposed to be ready to start working, and set up the skillet with the oil in it for frying the veroniki at the same time. Electric stove to 2 for the sauce and 5.5 for the oil.
Everything except the flour goes into the saucepan and gets frequent whisking with a table fork. I use table forks a lot in my cooking partly because that's what my granny used and what her mother did before her, and I learned much of my early technique from these women. I use table forks in instances like this specifically because they splash less than trying to get a whisk into that tiny saucepan. Yes, I know they make tiny whisks. Wanna buy me one? There's a tip jar at the top of the page.
I started with pinching off a ball of dough about the size of a golf ball, maybe a little larger, like a ping pong ball maybe. Roll it out a bit, work the edges some. The dough should be elastic, and you should be able to stretch it out like a pizza crust. I was working at about a five inch square with the edges maybe a little thinner than I got them in this shot.
Add a handful or so of cold, dry filling. You need to have room at the edges because you're going to close this up like a mandu. Start at the middle, pinch and seal as you go out to one end and then from the middle out to the other end, Make sure you have a nice seal. I don't bother fluting the edges or any of that. The detail would get lost when they puff up from second rising and then frying.
Here we have the remaining dough on the left, the bag of filling in the middle, and three assembled veroniki on the right. I kept trying to get them back down a little smaller but had trouble with that. It's okay, they came out fine.
When the recipe says they fry quickly, it means they fry quickly. This is just on medium heat, and the three in the front were in the oil just long enough for me to make the two in the back and bring them over. Best to make up the entire batch, then fry them as a single focused step and not multitasking.
The first batch draining on paper towels. The dough didn't rise much after assembly or puff up much in the oil. These used to be great blocky things, something that could satisfy an ork. I've been having trouble with my yeast baking since I moved up to Pine Bush. I've run out those ingredients and replaced them all with new as of my next attempt. More on that if it works out.
The first batch on a plate for presentation. This is about the point where I whisked the flour into the sauce, and took it off the heat to thicken.
And the presentation shot you saw at the top of the page, a veroniki cut like a calzone, with the sauce generously applied.
This made 9 veroniki, which wasn't nearly enough for the amount of sauce. The sauce recipe needs to be halved, or the veroniki batch doubled, to come out anywhere close to even. I am not ashamed to say that we, myself and two of my grown children, finished off the entire batch, with younger accounting for 2, myself for 3, and middle child, the one who had requested the dish, putting away four and then going off to his room to lapse into a food coma.