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Monday, December 31, 2007

Pierogies



Pierogies are the Eastern European stuffed dumplings similar to Italian ravioli, Jewish kreplach, Ukrainian varenyky, Russian pelmeni and Chinese pot stickers. Usually crescent in shape, pierogies offer a variety of flavors to savor, including potato and onion, various cheeses, sauerkraut, sauted cabbage, ground meat or fruit. Most people are familiar with the crispy, deep-fried version found at local fairs and carnivals, but traditionally these pockets are cooked in boiling water. Pierogies were considered "poor man's food" derived from basic farm staples of flour, eggs, potatoes and onions. Like many comfort foods, pierogies became an integral part of holiday celebrations. Although officially claimed by Poland in the 13th century,meatless pierogies are served by many cultures at Lenten meals and on Christmas Eve.

Pierogies
2 cups flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling dough
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream, or plain yogurt, or buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
butter and onions for sauteing

To prepare the pierogi dough, mix together the flour and salt. Beat the egg, then add all at once to the flour mixture. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and the softened butter pieces and work until the dough loses most of its stickiness (about 5-7 minutes). You can use a food processor with a dough hook for this, but be careful not to overbeat. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or overnight; the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Roll the pierogi dough on a floured board or countertop until 1/8" thick. Cut circles of dough (2" for small pierogies and 3-3 1/2" for large pierogies) with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Place a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon) on each dough round and fold the dough over, forming a semi-circle. Press the edges together with the tines of a fork. If you are having a hard time getting the edges to stick together, you may have too much flour in the dough. Add a little water to help get a good seal. Boil the perogies a few at a time in a large pot of salted water. They are done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes). Rinse in cool water and let dry. Saute chopped onions in butter in a large pan until onions are soft. Then add the cooked pierogies and heat or fry until lightly crispy. Serve with a side of sour cream If you don't want to cook all of the pierogies right away, you can refrigerate them (uncooked) for several days or freeze them for up to several months. Freeze in 1 layer on a tray until firm, about 2 hours, then transfer to sealable plastic bags.

-OR-

1 pint sour cream
5 cups flour
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons olive oil

For the dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, flour, butter, 2 whole eggs, egg yolk, 2 teaspoons salt and olive oil. Knead the mixture into a soft dough. Divide the dough in half and cover for 10 minutes. On a floured surface, roll each half of the dough into a thin circle, 1/4-inch thick. Cut the dough using a 3-inch circle cutter.

Fillings:

1/2 pound ground beef
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound soft farmers cheese
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 whole egg
To finish:
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup sour cream
Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a saute pan, render the ground beef for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper-lined plate. In a mixing bowl, combine the cheese, ground beef, shallots, garlic, green onion and egg. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each circle of dough and fold over. Press and seal into half-moon shapes. Use a little water to seal the pierogi's. In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pierogi for 8 minutes, or until they float. Remove from the water and drain. In a saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Sear the pierogi for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown. Remove from the pan. The pierogi will need to be sauteed in batches. Arrange the pierogi's on a platter. Garnish with parsley and serve with sour cream.

3 medium or 2 very large waxy potatoes (baking)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1-2 Tbsp light olive oil (or schmaltz)
1 large onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
1 small leek, finely minced (optional)
2 Tbsp Parmesan or white cheddar cheese, grated

Cook the potatoes in their jackets, in a covered heavy pot with barely enough water to cover them in slightly salted water (add about 2 tsp salt to the water). Simmer over low heat until potatoes are fork tender, then remove from heat. (If you can judge when they'll be done, remove from heat 10 minutes in advance and just allow to steam in the pot with the heat turned off). Allow the potatoes to cool sufficiently to handle, and rub off the skins with a clean towel. Drain the pot you cooked them in, and return the potatoes to the pot and shake them around a bit to dry them. Put the potatoes through a sieve or a potato ricer if you have one, otherwise, use a masher. Set them aside. In a skillet, combine butter and oil or schmaltz over medium heat to melt. Saute the garlic, onion, and leek, if you have one, for a few minutes until they begin to take on a translucent color. Stir in the cabbage, turn the heat to high for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, reduce heat and allow cabbage to begin to brown, 6-8 minutes. Then add the potatoes, cheese, and season to taste. Remove from heat and go on to work with the dough again as the filling cools.


1 cup creamed cottage cheese
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1 egg, beaten
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. raisins
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Cream cheese with melted butter. Add beaten egg, sugar, raisins, and cinnamon. Serve the filled, cooked Pierogi, with melted butter and sour cream.


1 onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
1 cup ground beef, cooked
4 Tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper

Fry onion in butter until tender. Add mushrooms and meat. Stir in sour cream and seasonings. Blend well and cool before filling Pierogi.


1 cup sauerkraut
1 sm. onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 Tbsp. sour cream

Cook sauerkraut with 2 cups water for 15 minutes; drain, cool, and chop finely. In a medium saucepan saute onion in butter. Add mushrooms; stir in chopped sauerkraut, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Add sour cream; mix well and cool before using for Pierogi filling.


6 med. size potatoes
1/2 lb. Longhorn cheese
Salt to taste
Onion powder to taste
Dash of black pepper

Peel potatoes and boil in salted water. Drain and mash. Add grated cheese and spices. Mix well and let it cool.


2 sm. or 1 lg. head cabbage
2 Tbsp. cooked dried mushrooms
Salt and pepper

Topping of drawn butter with bread crumbs or fried minced onions
Cook cabbage, soak and cook mushrooms and chop. Combine with cabbage, season, and use to fill pockets. Cook as directed and serve with drawn butter and bread crumbs or onions. Serves 6 to 7.


1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 egg yolks
butter
Salt, pepper to taste

Saute onion in butter. Add mushrooms and season. Saute covered 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and add egg yolks, stirring well. Cool before filling pierogi. Pour melted butter over pierogi and serve.


2 cups blueberries or pitted cherries
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
Cinnamon or Cardamom
1 tsp lemon juice
bread crumbs

Combine fruit water and sugar in saucepan. bring to boil. Simmer until fruit is tender and water is almost gone. Remove from heat. Mash slightly with potato masher. Add cinnamon and lemon juice. Cook and stir over low heat until thick. Stir in enough bread crumbs to further thicken. Put a dollop in pierogi. Fry in butter until crisp. Sprinkle a little sugar on top and serve with creme fraiche.

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