LISTEN TO MF DOOM “MM..FOOD” ON SPOTIFY
This is part of the Cooking The Album project for MF DOOM’s MM..FOOD
He said his gun clap, then he fled after one slap (pap!)
Son, shut your trap, save it for the bitches
Mmm, delicious, rapp snitch knishes
One of my fave tracks on MM..FOOD and a Top 10 DOOM track. A chilled out production track is the perfect base for DOOM and Mr. Fantastik to deliver a brilliant old school brag & diss rap. Apparently they call out several actual rivals though I’m definitely not knowledgeable enough to decipher the code. Like most of MM..FOOD, this really has little to do with food save for a few passing references like Mr. Fantastik’s “long dough” lyric and the brilliant DOOM rhyme of knishes with bitches. As a side note, the instrument version of this track turns up as “Coffin Nails” on DOOM’s Special Herbs Vol. 5 & 6 which may also end up as a Cooking The Album.
As everyone knows, Rapp Snitch Knishes are traditionally made with rat and/or stool pigeon. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any of those at my local grocer, so I decided ground beef would be a good substitute. I took some liberties with the filling and make a kind of freestyle chopped cheese. The “…even told on the Mexican” lyric inspired me to use Taco Spice as the meat seasoning. I originally went with just seasoned ground beef, some hot peppers, onions, and cheese but that version came out too dry. Turns out there is a reason knishes have mashed potatoes in them. It adds moisture to the mix helping the pastry cook lighter and a better mouthfeel for the filling. Not traditional for a chopped cheese, but there’s really nothing very traditional about any of this recipe.
I am not a baker so the dough for this recipe was a bit of a welcomed challenge and experiment. My first few attempts were less than stellar. The key is to get the dough pretty thin and that requires patience in the rolling process. I give big props to my wife Cherie (from We Can Tour That) for taking the time to show me how to properly roll out dough. (Yeah I know that sounds pathetic, but it’s all a learning process.)
The other key element is not using too much filling. I made two batches with the first using 3 cups of filling. That was way too much. The second batch, as seen above, used about 2 cups of filling. You want an even amount across the dough. Then drizzle the mustard and ketchup and top with American cheese. I used 4 slices of cheese for each batch, but have upped that to 6 here as it should be cheesier.
This is definitely one of those “spend a day” recipes. It takes some time, but that time is worth it. Leftovers keep nicely in an airtight container in the fridge. Eat leftovers cold or warm them up in a 350°F oven for about 10-12 minutes. I like these with a bit of hot sauce.
RAPP SNITCH KNISHES
Ground beef, mashed potatoes, onions, taco spice, Rock Candy jalapenos, American cheese, ketchup, mustard
Makes about 12-16 knishes
For the dough:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup warm water
2 eggs + 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
For the filling:
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, quartered, and boiled in salted water until tender
1 pound ground beef
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup Rock Candy Jalapenos, minced
2 tablespoons Taco Spice
12 slices American cheese, chopped
MAKE THE DOUGH
Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Add egg, vinegar, oil, and warm water. Mix by hand until dough pulls together. Turn dough out onto the counter and knead until soft, smooth, and elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
MAKE THE FILLING
Begin by boiling the potatoes until they can be pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and mash with a potato masher or fork. Set aside.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, jalapenos, ground beef, and 1 tablespoon Taco Spice. Cook undisturbed until the beef develops a crust, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip with a spatula, breaking up the meat. Continue cooking until fully browned, about 2 minutes.
Take the ground beef mixture and add to the bowl with the potatoes. Stir to combine thoroughly. Place in the fridge to cool completely.
ASSEMBLE THE KNISH
Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper. Take the dough out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
Divide dough in half; flatten one half into a rectangle on a floured surface. Roll out into a larger rectangle about 1/8-inch thick, pulling the corners as needed. The key is to make the dough as thin as possible.
Place 1 1/2 – 2 cups of filling along one long end, about 3 inches away from the edges. Drizzle with ketchup & mustard and top with 6 slices of American cheese. Beat egg with water and brush over the opposite end and a little on the sides. Starting with the filling side, roll up toward the egg-washed side. Press in the filling; roll over so seam-side is on the bottom.
Trim off excess dough from the ends if desired. Mark, but do not cut, the dough into 8 equal pieces. Flour the side of your hand and press into the marks. Rub back and forth against the counter to separate each piece. Position each piece with one cut end facing down and the other facing up. Squish down the top and tuck everything into the center to form a round knish.
Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Brush bottoms with olive oil and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops in the egg wash.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Rotate trays and cook until golden brown, about another 15 minutes. Let cool until just warm or room temperature.