Lobster Pelmeni Recipe

Decadence in a dumpling.
Lobster Pelmeni Recipe
Photo by Jennifer May

Servings: 4
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours


2 (2-pound|900 gram) lobsters, parboiled for 4 minutes, meat extracted and shells reserved (steps 1 and 2)

for the sauce:
lobster shells (reserved from above)
3 tablespoons neutral oil
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 fresh tarragon sprigs
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
2 cups|500 ml heavy cream (35% butterfat)
1-2 cups|240-500 ml) water
kosher salt
1 cup|240 ml fresh-pressed carrot juice
cayenne pepper
½ lemon, juiced
¼ cup|60 grams cold unsalted butter


for the dough:
2 large eggs
4 cups|500 grams all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
¾ cup-1 ¼ cups|200-300 ml) cold water

for the pelmeni filling:
1 pound|454 grams ground pork
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
¼ cup|60 ml Calvados
kosher salt and white pepper, to taste

to serve:
1 cup|240 ml sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


  1. Cut the lobster meat into small pieces the size of peas, transfer to a container, and refrigerate.
  2. Strain away any excess liquid from the lobster shells.
  3. For the lobster sauce: In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil until smoking hot. Add in the shells and cook, stirring vigorously, over high heat, until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tarragon, paprika, and black pepper. Cook for a few seconds, then add the cream and water. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain into a small container and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  4. While the lobster sauce is simmering, make the pelmeni dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, flour, salt, and ¾ cup|200 ml water. Mix on low speed to form a smooth dough, 8 to 10 minutes, adding a splash of water here and there as needed: keep in mind that the dough will become considerably looser and softer as it rests, so you will likely not have to use more than 1 cup (240 ml) water total. In humid weather, err on the firmer side. Manually knead the dough on the counter a few times, then toss with a little flour and transfer to a container or a Ziploc bag. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer.
  5. To make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the chopped lobster meat with the ground pork, the egg and the egg yolk, minced garlic, tarragon, chives, Calvados, and salt and white pepper. Mix well with your hands. We encourage you to test-fry a small amount to assess the seasoning and adjust as needed.
  6. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a large circle about ⅛ inch|3-mm thick. Using a floured 4-inch|10-cm ring mold, cut out as many circles as you can, and place them side by side on a floured sheet pan.
  7. In the center of each dough circle, place a tablespoon of pelmeni filling. Using your fingertip, brush a little water or egg wash around the edges, then fold in half, pressing down on the top edge to seal – like a boss. Grab the tips of the semicircle and press them together, as if it’s going to hug itself. Transfer back to the floured sheet pan, make the rest of pelmeni, then refrigerate.
  8. Finish the lobster sauce: In a medium saucepan, reduce the carrot juice by half, add the cream mixture, and reduce at a tranquil simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until still unctuous but not stiff. Season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne to taste, add the lemon juice, and whisk in the cold butter. Set aside but keep warm.
  9. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pelmeni in small batches to avoid overcrowding them like Smurfs in Gargamel’s cauldron – maintaining a slow but even simmer, 2 to 3 minutes. As always, it’s a lot easier to test one for doneness than to send your guests an apology letter later. Transfer pelmeni to a sheet pan that’s been oiled, and continue cooking the next batch.
  10. Transfer the pelmeni to a large pan, and cover them in the lobster sauce. Over medium-low heat, bring to a slow simmer, cover, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Some of the sauce will be absorbed, so add a splash of water to extend it, and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Serve with the sour cream and chives.

Author's note: This recipe has been reprinted with permission of the authors from their book, Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse: Another Cookbook of Sorts.

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