Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Guest Post: Pierogi
Hey guys! I thought it would be fun to start having one guest post a month from my friends and family members - that way you guys don't get bored with my ridiculous posts where I just ramble on with my life! The first guest post is by my friend Kate. Enjoy!
I would never consider myself a great cook, baker, or writer, so when Samantha asked me if I wanted to do a guest post here, I was filled with mixed emotions. What if nobody liked what I cooked? What if I ended up ruining the dish I made? Considering I only really started experimenting with baking about two years ago, I realized that I needed something that would make me at ease.
Growing up, my Buscia (Polish for grandma) would cook pierogi on special occasions (for those of you who have never heard of pierogi, think of a hybrid between ravioli and potato dumplings). For my Buscia, cooking pierogi was always a labor of love; something that would take an afternoon in the kitchen, hand rolling and stuffing little dough envelopes. She would usually make them for Sunday dinners, where her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren would gather for a big home cooked meal.
These pierogi embody comfort food, both in their heartiness and the fact that they require an act of love to make for someone (they do take a bit of time to make and assemble). If making for a family dinner, feel free to make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate until you are ready to stuff them. Although pierogi can be stuffed with a multitude of fillings, I prefer the traditional blend of cheese, potatoes, and onions. I also recommend serving with sour cream or (my favorite) cream cheese.
While these pierogi can in no way compare to my Buscia’s, they are still delicious. I recommend cooking up a batch of these for someone you love, whether it is your spouse, friend, or family. I even made a few without onions for our three pups. (They gobbled them up so quickly I could barely get a picture of them!)
Homemade Pittsburgh Pierogies with Sour Cream
(Recipe courtesy Columbus Foodie)
2 cups flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling dough
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream, plus extra to serve with the pierogi
1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
butter and onions for sautéing
ingredients for filling of your choice (potato & cheese filling recipe below)
To prepare the pierogi dough, mix together the flour and salt. Beat the egg, and 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.
Prepare the Pierogies
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.
Boil the pierogies a few at a time in a large pot of water. They are done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes). Rinse in cool water and let dry. Sauté chopped onions in butter in a large pan until onions are soft. Then add pierogies and pan fry until lightly crispy. Serve with a side of sour cream for a true Pittsburgh pierogi meal.
Homemade Pierogi Tips:
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.
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.
You can fill pierogies with pretty much anything you want, though potato and cheese is the most common (recipe below). Sweet pierogies are often filled with a prune mixture.
Potato, Cheese & Onion Filling:
Peel and boil 5 lbs of potatoes until soft. Red potatoes are especially good for this. While the potatoes are boiling, finely chop 1 large onion and sauté in butter until soft and translucent. Mash the potatoes with the sautéed onions and 8oz of grated cheddar cheese, adding salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some fresh parsley, bacon bits, or other enhancements if you desire. Let the potato mixture cool and then form into 1″ balls.