Lola Cooks: Pierogi

Tomorrow people all over the country will be celebrating pierogi.  Truth be told, the majority of those people will be in the midwest or northeast, but the popularity of pierogi has spread across the nation.  Just about anywhere that has a large Polish population has pierogi.

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The pierogi or perogi is similar to ravioli.  However, the filling typically involves a mashed potato base and then other things are added after that.  The one I remember the most from my childhood in the midwest was potato, caramelized onion and cheddar cheese.  There are many variations out there as you might imagine.  In fact, as they have grown in popularity, more "American" versions have appeared including bacon and jalapeno.  They are gone in just a couple of bites, but they are really good bites.

savour... carb therapy

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Pierogi

Before you start:

I use a food ricer to mash potatoes.  Use whatever method works best for you.

Have a short bowl or glass of water handy to dab you fingers and very slightly moisten the edge of the circle cut out to help seal the filling inside.

A dessert version of pierogi can also be made, although I have never done it.  I usually see these with standard pie fillings (cherry, apple) and served with some sort of sauce.

Be careful not to overwork the dough.  Easy does it.

The ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • ½ cup water
  • Butter or oil for sautéing

For the filling:

  • 2 cups diced potato (about 1  inch cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • ½ teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 1 cup finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 ½ tablespoons grated parmesan  cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped flat-leaf  parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
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The method:

  1. Place the potatoes in a large  saucepan and fill with enough cold water to just cover.
  2. Cook over medium high heat for  15-20 minutes until soft, but not mushy.
  3. While potatoes are cooking,  melt butter and olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat.
  4. Add onion, garlic, and  thyme.  Cook until onions are soft  and translucent (about 2 minutes).
  5. Add cabbage and cook an  additional 7-9 minutes until cabbage starts to brown.
  6. Lower the heat to low and cook an  additional 20 minutes until the cabbage and onion are soft and  caramelized.
  7. When the potatoes are finished  drain them thoroughly and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  8. Place the potatoes,  onion/cabbage mixture, cheese, and parsley in a bowl and mash them.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Set the filling aside to cool  while you make the dough.
  11. In a large bowl, combine flour,  sour cream, and ¼ cup of the water.
  12. Mix the eggs in one at a time.
  13. Add about half of the remaining  water… more as necessary until mixture comes together.
  14. Place dough on lightly floured  surface and knead with your fingertips, lifting and dropping the dough on  the counter.
  15. You should knead (dusting with  flour as necessary) until dough is smooth on the outside and slightly  sticky when poked (about 5 minutes).
  16. Loosely wrap in plastic wrap  and set aside to rest for at least 20 minutes.
  17. While it is resting, bring large pot with water to boil over high heat.
  18. When dough is ready turn it out  onto a lightly floured surface and roll about 1/8 inch thick.
  19. Cut out circles with a cookie  cutter or drinking glass.
  20. Place a small amount of filling  in the center of the disc and fold over to form a semi-circle.
  21. Press the edge together with  your fingertips and then mark with the end of a fork.
  22. Drop the perogi into the  boiling water.
  23. When they begin to float to the  top, cook them for an additional 3 or 4 minutes.
  24. Drain the perogi.
  25. Saute the perogi in butter or  olive oil over medium heat until slightly browned on both sides.
  26. Serve with sour cream and  garnish with chopped parsley.
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