Thursday, December 29, 2005

As promised...

I promised a recipe for Pierogi, and never returned to share it. Shame on me. I am back to share it now. This is the recipe that Andy's parents use, and I suspect have for years. The dough is very much like a pasta dough, and vry tough to knead, but it is worth the end results. According to Mom Waz, you can use the leftover pieces of dough to make noodles, or ball them up and reuse for more pierogi. I did the latter this time around. Although today I did find a ball of dough yet in the fridge that I forgot- and it obviously has a short life span. So make the pierogi in a few days time. These also freeze remarkably well. I believe Mom and Dad always freeze them after the cooking process, but I was thinking the other day that you could lay the stuffed pierogi on a baking sheet and freeze individually- and THEN freeze them in a bag or a Foodsaver bag. Then it would be a simple matter of tossing frozen pierogi into boiling water- very much like a frozen ravioli. I will give that a whirl next time.

Pierogi Dough
Yield: about 3 dozen

2 Eggs
1/4 tsp salt
4 TBS margarine, melted (I used butter)
4 Cups flour

In a small bowl, mix the eggs, salt, and melted margarine. Place flour in a large bowl. Add liquid to dough and mix until crumbly. Add enough water to form dough. (I doubled the batch and used about 4 cups of water.) Knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes to make the dough smooth and elastic. Roll out a large piece and cut into 4 inch circles. Fill with about 2 Tablespoons of filling. Fold the dough circle over itself, making a half- circle. Pinch edges together and crimp with a fork. Place in boiling water for about 5 minutes until pierogi float to the top.

***I used my pasta roller for this task. Thanks to a tip from Mom, I was able to run the dough quickly through 3 different levels and had a nice sheet of dough to work with.

Now for the fillings. The key to the fillings is to make sure they are well-chilled. I made them 2 days ahead of time and kept them in the refrigerator. Now, a search for pierogi fillings brings up endless variations. I made three, but ended up eating two. The one that didn't turn out was a sauerkraut filling. Usually I love sauerkraut. I'm a good German girl and love the stuff. This... the recipe said to boil a can of sauerkraut and an onion for 1 1/2 hours. Then saute to remove moisture. Well, my logic said that sauerkraut is already well cooked and processes, so I just sauteed it with onion. Worked okay. Until I stuffed the pierogi with it. It just smelled like a horrible fishy something. I did not cook them up. I am guessing that the long boiling process helps remove that smell, because, boy, was it bad.

The two fillings I was successful with was a Potato and a Butternut Squash. I will start with the potato. Basically, I boiled about 4 cups of chopped potatoes, then mashing them. To the potatoes I added one onion that had been carmalized, a healthy glug of cream, salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese. These were very good. Next time though, I will leave out the cheese, I didn't notice it was in there. To serve these particular pierogi, I melted some Velveeta with some chopped broccoli, and poured the sauce over the pierogi. Yum! May not be traditional, but they were awesome. Andy's favorite though was the squash:

Start with one small to medium butternut squash. Cut lengthwise in half and remove the seeds. Season cut sides with salt and pepper and place face down in a baking dish. Pierce the squash several times with a knife. Add about 1/4 inch water to the pan, cover with foil, and bake at 350 for about 1 hour. Let cool until you can handle it. Remove the squash from the skin.

In a saute pan, saute one small onion in butter until translucent. Add one clove of garlic- minced. Saute for about another 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, pepper to taste, and a pinch of freshly ground sage. Add the butternut squash. Saute until the moisture has been cooked out of the squash (10-15 minutes). Chill completely. Add 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese before stuffing. This could also be used to stuff ravioli.

And how did I serve that one? Mmmm. I browned up a stick of butter and added about 1/2 cup walnuts to the butter and about 1/4 tsp. ground sage. Then I poured that over the pierogi. Wow. Heaven on a plate, that's for sure.

Overal the pierogi was not as time consuing as I had been expecting. They were delicious, and according to Andy, I can stuff them with just about anything I desire. So I fully intend on stuffing these with as many things as I possibly can. So I hope you try them, they really are very good and also very satisfying. They are almost a meal in themselves. And as the good Polish people would say: Smaczne! (Delicious)

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