Saturday, August 14, 2010

Aug 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.

Greetings Daring Cooks! The August Challenge is brought to you by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. This month, we will be exploring the wonderful world of pierogi, those versatile little dumplings, in name and fillings. Almost every culture has one on its menu. They can be made from potato or bread or, in our case, flour. Wikipedia provides a nice overview of various types of dumplings around the world.

Your challenge is to make the dough from scratch and a savory or sweet filling of your choice. Below are some traditional pierogi fillings. As an optional challenge, we would like to see non-traditional fillings that reflect your locale. It could be savoury or sweet. Let’s bust open pierogi and make them a true international dumpling!

* you have to make the dough from scratch
* you have to make filling from scratch

[Eat4fun: For a full list of recipes see The Daring Kitchen or our hostesses blogs, listed above.
I decided to go with the family recipe provided by Anula. I enjoy trying out family recipes that have been tried and tested.]

Russian Style Pierogi
(makes 4 generous servings, around 30 dumplings)
(Traditional Polish recipe, although each family will have their own version, this is Anula's family 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.

[For the filling, 3 slices of bacon where coarsely diced and cooked, onions were added after the bacon achieved some nice browning. Nothing worse than eating soggy boiled bacon... :-) ]

[Fresh mashed potatoes were made, the butter called out in the recipe was added to the potatoes, plus the salt and pepper. Remember to season all parts of any recipe for good results.]

[Drained cottage cheese, egg and the rest of the cooled ingredients are mixed together.]

[Finished filling was covered and refrigerated while the dough was made.]

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.

[Straightforward pasta recipe - egg in a well of flour. Beaten and mixed with a fork.]

[Water was slowly added while the flour was being incorporated... eventually, a ball will form where kneading is completed by hand]

[The kneaded dough was satiny smooth and kind off soft. As Anula mentioned, only 1/2 C of the water was needed to form the pasta dough. The dough was covered and allowed to rest.]

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.

[After the dough rested, half of the dough was rolled out into a thin sheet.
A 3 inch round cutter was used to make little rounds.]

[A small spoonful of filling was dolloped into the center.]

[The leftover egg white was used to seal the edges and a fork was used to crimp the edges to ensure no leakage.]

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.

The Finished Pierogis!

I decided to go for a heartier presenation.
Also, in keeping with a "Russian"/"Polish" theme, I made Beef Stroganoff where pierogis were used in place of egg noodles.

The Pierogis were delicious. A very simple filling with subtle hints of smoky bacon and onions flavoring the potato filling.

Anula's family (secret) recipe was a success! Thanks for sharing! :-)


Ruth H. said...

Well done! Your final fried pieogi look so crisp and inviting! The step-by-step photos are really helpful, too! Thank you!

Mary said...

Your pierogi look fantastic, and with beef stroganoff too. Yum! Can hardly wait to see what you come up with to challenge us this month!

chef_d said...

Yummy! I love your presentation with the beef stroganoff! Great job!

Anna said...

SOOO happy you liked them :) I love the way you served them - that had to be hearty and filling dinner :) SO nice and instructive photos (better than mine ;) )
Thank you for taking part this month!

Cheers. Anula

shelley c. said...

Oh, yum - your pierogi look fantastic, and beef stroganoff - how perfect! Really great job. I can't wait to see what you come up with for this month!

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

Really nice step-by step recipe: nicely done! Perfect pairing with the beef stroganoff...