Thursday, November 8, 2007

About Those Pierogi...

Well, as promised, here is the dough recipe for you today. It's a pretty straightforward recipe- it only has four ingredients, five if you count the water. But there are a few things that I have learned, through trial and error, about pierogi making to make your experience even easier.

The first being, if you're going to make pierogi, decide on your fillings ahead of time, make those first, and allow them to thoroughly chill. Pierogi will not seal around hot or warm fillings.

The second biggest tip is if you have the tools, use them. And by tools I mean a stand mixer and a pasta roller. The first few times I made pierogi, I made the dough by hand. It's a very tough dough to knead. Anyone who's made pasta knows what I'm talking about. It's tough, and you need to work it for a full ten minutes. And of course, overworking leads to a tough and chewy dough as well. So use your stand mixer, and knead on low speed for 5 minutes instead. I promise, your pierogi will come out tender and delicious. The pasta roller is non-negotiable to me. I can't even begin to imagine rolling out pasta dough by hand- and I'm sure people do it, but not me. Run it through the pasta roller on 3 settings, and you should be good to go.

If you want to see a few pictures of the actual process, so you get an idea in your head, you can check out last year's pierogi post. As you can see, you also need to not be afraid to use flour, or the little buggers will stick to everything. Another part of the procedure that I discovered last year is that if you're making them ahead of time- or are just making a large batch and wish to freeze them for future use, freeze them before you cook them. Seriously. Just lay out the pierogi on a cookie sheet that's been liberally dusted with flour, and pop them in the freezer for a few hours. Then drop the frozen dumplings into a freezer bag and label. When it's time to cook them, just drop the frozen pierogi into your boiling water- it works beautifully. And the pierogi will keep for at least six months if they're properly sealed.

As for fillings, as I showed yesterday, you are limited only by your imagination. Traditional fillings include a mashed potato filling, a sauerkraut filling, a cheese filling (similar to ricotta) and a prune filling. But really, you can use fruit as I showed yesterday, meats, vegetables, the sky's the limit. The only thing I would be cautious about would be the veggies from the brassica family. The broccoli and cabbage and brussels sprouts. I'm concerned about them getting an odor, yet I'm still contemplating a broccoli-cauliflower stuffed one.

Anyway, here are some suggestions for fillings. Today I will be making the butternut squash filling. I cook squash, mash it, and then mix in some caramelized onions, sage and nutmeg. This one is Andy's favorite. I'll also be making a few more cranberry ones I think. I'm also contemplating a chunky applesauce filling. Other things that have come to mind are:

A Mexican filling with meat of your choice and cheese (served with salsa and sour cream)
Shredded hoisin chicken for an Asian twist (or pork for that matter)
Crumbled, cooked italian sausage and ricotta cheese
Spinach and bacon (or other greens)
BBQ pork
Caramelized onions and gruyere with a little thyme (think French onion soup!)
Ground beef and cheese for a cheeseburger-like treatment
Leftover turkey and stuffing
Chopped steak and mushrooms
Pie filling of just about any kind

See? Just about anything you can think of could stuff these guys. In my mind though, I'll be keeping to the spirit of using leftovers, or things on hand today.

Pierogi Dough
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. (About 2 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.

"3 dozen"


JEP said...

I see pie filling ones in my future...thanks!

Erika W. said...

He-heh, yeah, the pie filling ones kind of intrigued me too.

Your Blogger said...

Three dozen! Holy moly, you'll be eating these things for weeks!

Erika W. said...

They freeze!

But yeah, 3 dozen, and the fact that the kids don't like them means a lot of pierogi eating going on.

swirlingnotions said...

Oh I'm so glad you posted this! I've been craving braised pork shoulder and I'm already thinking that'll be great as a filling . . . maybe with a little chunk of parm . . . is it my Polish heritage that's making me go nutty for pierogi fillings? ;-) Thanks!

Erika W. said...

That would be an awesome filling! I love braised pork shoulder, it'a one of those things that can be utilized for anything.