Yesterday Jess and I spent 5 1/2 hours up at the church creating yummy Knishes for the church dinner.
About a month ago Jared and I were watching a show on the History channel that was featuring famous foods from Chicago and the Knish was featured. It's a Jewish dish that is commonly made with spinach or kashi. It seemed like a really hearty dish that would be affordable and really yummy so I decided to try my hand at it and share it with Wednesday night church.
Since the most common question we received was, "What is a Knish" I decided to document the afternoon and show you the process. They turned out really good and I would highly recommend making these for your family with your favorite ingredients. Jess had a great definition and called them a homemade hot pocket or a bread bowl full of mashed potatoes.
I chose Philly Cheese steak and ham and cheese since this was the main course and it needed to have protein. Hopefully adding ham to a Jewish dish isn't sacrilege. I made it up as I went along so bear with me.
We started with 2 batches (usually yields 11 doz rolls total) of homemade bread. Ms. Jess worked on the dough completely by hand while I peeled and cut 30lbs of potatoes.
We started on the potatoes as soon as we got up to the church since cutting, peeling, and then boiling that many potatoes takes quite a while. We had 3 stock pots going at once. If you own a Pampered Chef apple peeler I highly recommend it for massive potato peeling. Not only does it peel them but it cuts them into a spiral and leaves a core. This is much faster than cutting the potatoes and they cook much faster due to how thin the spiral is.
For the Philly Cheese Steak Knish we worked on caramelizing the onions (3 large yellow onions) and added in 5lbs of roast beef.
We bought the roast beef thinly sliced and we cut it into 1" chunks. When the potatoes were soft we mashed them without adding any milk or butter. Once the meat was heated through we dumped the roast beef and onions and mixed it into 1/2 of the total potatoes. We also added 3lbs of Swiss cheese slices. I have to say that just the potato mixture was delicious.
For the ham and cheese Knish we bought a 7lb bone in ham and cut it into small chunks.
We fried the ham on the stove to heat it through and then dumped it into the remaining potatoes (about 15lbs).
We added 12 cups of cheddar cheese.
Jess thought the ham and cheese would make good breakfast Knish and I totally agree. Adding some fried bacon and even some egg and these would be excellent for a special brunch. I would consider making these for the Mission Lake Men's retreat. For some reason the Knishes seem very manly to me.
Once the dough was ready (this is just 1/2 of the total we used)
We rolled it out into a massive rectangle on the counter.
For the Philly Cheese steak knish we lined the dough with more Swiss cheese slices and then we just started dumping the potato mixture down the center. Then wrapped it up and used a pizza cutter to slice the individual knishes. This had a learning curve to it because once we cut them we had to open ends and it took some finessing to stretch the bread over one end. If I were to make them again I would cut individual squares of dough and place the mixture in the center and then wrap the dough up towards the center. We did it this way because it's how it was shown on the History channel.
We did the ham and cheese the same only adding a 4 cup bag of cheddar cheese to each row and then adding the potato mixture.
When I make them again I'll have a much better idea of how much potato mixture to use because some of these turned out massive but they were so good and a huge hit at church. The best part is we have a $140 budget to feed 80-100 people and we were able to make all these plus have 14lbs of steamed broccoli for a vegetable for $103. We took advantage of the sale at Price chopper for the potatoes and the broccoli!