Saturday, August 14, 2010

Daring Cooks: Pierogis

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.
I was so excited by August's Daring Cooks' Challenge! Pierogis! These have been on my own list of things I want to try from the start.

I began by making the filling. I unexpectedly had to omit the bacon. My bacon loving husband cooked it up for himself a couple of days before and in all fairness I didn't put a note on it so it was fair game. The dough was easy to mix together but very difficult to roll out. I couldn't get it as thin as I wanted. Instead of just spreading out like cookie dough or pie dough does, it has some kick back so I couldn't flatten it like I'd like.
I used a 10cm biscuit cutter, filled each round with a heaping teaspoon of filling and crimped the edges with a fork. Then, came the boiling.
I wasn't as careful with my pierogis as I should have been. I let them touch on the plate before the boiling. A lot of them ended up sticking and pulling them apart was a nightmare.
The boiling went well, except for those that fell apart in the water. I'm sure some of this was due to the sticking issue. Once a hole is made in the pierogi, you have to be very careful to close it back up or else all the filling will fall out during boiling.

My finished pierogis did not look pretty, but they were delicious! I'm so happy with my first attempt at making pierogis. I learned a lot and came away with a tasty dinner! 

Russian Style Pierogi
From: Anula's family recipe
(makes 4 generous servings, around 30 dumplings)
Printable Recipe

2 to 2 1/2 cups (300 to 375 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
About 1 cup (250 ml) lukewarm water
3 big potatoes, cooked & mashed (1 1/2 cup instant or leftover mashed potatoes is fine too)
1 cup (225 g) cottage cheese, drained    
1 onion, diced & sauteed in butter until clear
3 slices of streaky bacon, diced and fried till crispy (you can add more bacon if you like or omit that part completely if you’re vegetarian)
1 egg yolk (from medium egg)
1 tablespoon (15 g) butter, melted    
1/4 (1.25 ml) teaspoon salt    
pinch of pepper to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients for the filling (it’s best to use one’s hands to do that) put into the bowl, cover and set aside in the fridge until you have to use it.

2. Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add the salt and a little lukewarm at a time (in my situation 1/2 cup was enough). Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough with a bowl or towel. You’re aiming for soft dough. Let it rest 20 minutes.

3. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (1/8” or about 3 millimeters) cut with a 2-inch (5 cm) round or glass (personally I used 4-inch/10 cm cutter as it makes nice size pierogi - this way I got around 30 of them and 1 full, heaped teaspoon of filling is perfect for that size). Spoon a portion (teaspoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough.

4. Bring a large, low saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop in the pierogi, not too many, only single layer in the pan! Return to the boil and reduce heat. When the pierogi rise to the surface, continue to simmer a few minutes more ( usually about 5 minutes). Remove one dumpling with a slotted spoon and taste if ready. When satisfied, remove remaining pierogi from the water.

5. Serve immediately preferably with creme fraiche or fry. Cold pierogi can be fried.  Boiled Russian pierogi can be easily frozen and boiled taken out straight from the freezer.

1 comment:

  1. They look good enough to me...and if they tasted good, that's what really counts. I have never made these...might like to give those a try when the weather cools down...they seem like a winter kind of menu item to me, but I could be wrong. Yours look wonderfully delicious.


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