Country Roads, take me home
To the place I belong,
Mountain mamma, take me home
Am I the only one who hears John Denver every time I hear West Virginia? I love the way this song paints a picture.
Almost heaven, West Virginia,
Blue Ridge Mountain, Shenandoah River,
Life is old there, older than the trees,
Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze
In case you haven’t guest it, today is National West Virginia. West Virginia is the only state to be carved from another existing state, Virginia. While territories have been forged to create multiple states, only West Virginia succeeded from an established state and applied for independent statehood. No surprise this bold move took place during the American Civil War when the whole of the nation was in a state of upheaval.
One of the things that I love about these National State Days is the discovery of different places within the country I love so much – America. I know that we’ve taken hits over the years and are going through some very ugly growing pains today, but the people and the country are beautiful. Although unable to travel about, we can experience places through photographs. Life is a tapestry of pain and sorrow and joy and beauty in threads of every color.
This tapestry can be found in the people –
And in the land –
We can also experience different places by inviting popular dishes of the region to our family table. Pepperoni Rolls, as it turns out, are a West Virginia classic. These aren’t pizza rolls but rather bread rolls with pepperoni baked inside. Ever since Giuseppe “Joseph” Argiro first began selling these bread rolls at the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, West Virginia in 1927, they have been a favorite. The roll was originally created as a lunch option for Coal Minters of north-central West Virginia because pepperoni need not be refrigerated and the rolls packed easily for miners. Oh, and if you are thinking Country Club as in Golf Course Country Club, think again.
Enjoy a bite of West Virginia history.
West Virginia Pepperoni Rolls
2 Eggs beaten
1/2 cup Butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1 cup Warm Water (100 degrees)
1-1/4 oz Active Dry Yeast
5 cups Flour
3/4 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Salt
Olive Oil as needed
8 oz Pepperoni Slices
Lightly beat the eggs, set aside. Melt butter, set aside
In a small bowl, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon sugar in a cup of warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the warm sugar water, let stand 5 minutes for the mixture to bloom
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 3/4 cup remaining sugar, and salt. Stir in the yeast mixture, eggs and melted butter.
Dump dough into a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix until dough pulls together.
Lightly flour a work area, turn out the dough on the space and need until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough into the oiled bowl, turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, then drape a tea towel over the bowl. Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about 90 minutes
Note: Dough needs to be in a warm spot, about 95 degrees, draft-free. Try heating an oven for a few minutes, then turn the heat off as a place to let dough rise or run dryer for a few minutes to warm, place bowl inside and let rise.
Once the dough has risen, remove dough from warming place and punch down.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a cookie sheet lightly with oil. Set aside.
Divide dough into 20 golf ball size balls. Using hands, flatten each piece into about a 4-inch square pieces of dough. Place 3 slices of pepperoni down the center of each dough square, overlapping the slices. Place a second row of 3 slices next to the first.
Fold the dough around the pepperoni slices, pinch edges to close. Place Pepperoni Rolls on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake in the heated oven for 15 minutes or until top are just beginning to brown.