Skillet Buns with Greens and Garlic Sauce
These little buns (or hand pies, rolls, stuffed bread, etc.) are a wonderful surprise on the inside. These ones are packed with herbs and garlic sauce, but fill them with whatever you've got.
I made a version of these when I was visiting my sister from a recipe in the cookbook Taste of Persia. With some adjustments (namely using a different, less sticky dough!), they are lovely. Not too bready, not too vegetabley, they strike a nice balance. And the garlic sauce was a last minute addition that just pulls the whole thing together. (You can find the recipe here. It packs a serious kick, lasts forever, and is fun to make!) Ideally you'd have some sort of sauce on the inside (think pesto, garlic sauce, harissa, pureed squash or sweet potato with some spices) plus the greens. You could certainly use a sturdier, fuller vegetable on the inside (potato, broccoli, onion), but cooking time may be altered.
Dough adapted from King Arthur Flour
1 2/3 cups lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast
4 cups + 3 tablespoons/500 grams bread flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
4 cups loosely packed spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup loosely packed parsley, stems removed and chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh dill, stems removed and chopped
1 bunch scallions, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for cooking
Make the dough: Mix the water, yeast, flour, and salt until well combined. Knead the mixture — using your hands, a stand mixer, or your bread machine set on the dough cycle — until you've made a smooth, fairly soft dough. The dough should barely clean the inside of the bowl, if you're using a stand mixer, perhaps sticking just a bit at the bottom.
Put the dough in a lightly greased large bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise until it's nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Gently deflate the dough, and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide into sixteen pieces and gently shape each piece into a ball. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest 30 minutes.
Make the filling: In a medium bowl, combine spinach, parsley, dill, scallions, and salt. Toss gently and set aside. (The salt brings out liquid in the spinach, so no need for olive oil or any other liquid here.)
Prepare buns: Take one of your pieces of dough (keeping the rest covered) and roll out to a 7" round. I found it easier to use a rolling pin here instead of my hands so the dough stayed an even thickness, but by all means, use your hands if you want! Spread 1 tablespoon of garlic sauce in the middle of the dough and top with about 1/4 cup of greens mixture. Bring edges of dough to center and pinch to seal (they'll look like dumplings and will flatten out when they cook). Set aside and cover with towel. Repeat with the remaining 15 buns.
Cook buns: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet (or whatever you have), over medium-high heat. Transfer buns to pan, fitting as many as you can without them touching. Brush tops with olive oil and cook until bottoms are browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until browned, about 3 more minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined cooling rack. Cool a few minutes, then serve. Best eaten warm! (You can also freeze them! Let cool completely, put in a ziploc bag, and voila. Reheat in the microwave for about 2 minutes.)