Food/Entertainment

Homemade Pierogies

 Whether you have family from Poland, the Ukraine, Romania or even good ole’ America, chances are you’ve had Pierogi.  They are out of this world delicious.  They are a bit of work, ok, maybe a lot of work . . .  but they are so worth it. People were eating them cold right out of the refrigerator here.  They were undeniably scrumptious.

     My favorite was the Potato with Cheese, Bacon, and Caramelized Onion.  Bob preferred the Potato, Sauerkraut, and Diced Onion.  I also made Sweet Potato with Bacon, but neither of us were crazy about them.

     If you’d like to read Pierogi history, go to:

http://www.polskafoods.com/polish-food/facts-history-about-pierogi

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierogi

     I’m sure every family that ate Pierogi had their own recipe. I was never introduced to them until I was an adult. Man, oh man. All those years wasted!

Here’s my recipe.

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

4 large Russet potatoes

2 TBSP butter

3/4 cup cubed or grated cheese (I use a mixture of Colby, Monterey Jack, Sharp Cheddar, and Cooper). 

¼ + milk

Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder and Garlic Powder (about 1/2 tsp each)

OPTIONAL:  Sauerkraut, Diced Raw Onion, Crumbled Bacon, Green Onions

FILLING PREPARATION:

     Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks.  Boil in salted water until tender.  Remove potatoes with a Spider or Slotted Spoon.  Reserve the potato water for the dough and let cool to room temp.

     While the Potatoes are cooking, cut 2 large onions into strips and cook in Butter and Olive Oil until caramelized.  This takes a good half hour on low heat, so start early on.

     Place butter and cubed or grated cheese on top of hot potatoes and cover.  Let sit until cheese is melted.  With a potato masher or submersible blender, begin mashing potatoes and adding milk until potatoes are of desired consistency.  Add seasonings to taste.  Taste the mixture to make sure you have enough cheese and seasonings.

DOUGH INGREDIENTS:  Yields 40-50 pierogis, depending on size

6 cups AP flour

1 extra large egg

¾ tsp salt

Pepper to taste

1 ½ – 1 ¾ cups potato water

1 egg yolk to seal dough

OPTIONAL: Seasonings such as onion powder, garlic powder, parsley

DOUGH PREPARATION AND ASSEMBLY:

     In food processor, add flour, egg, salt, and quickly pulse to incorporate.  If you want to add seasonings, do it now.  Add room temperature potato water in three batches and mix until dough forms.  It will only take about 1 minute.

     Grab a hunk of dough and squeeze it.  It shouldn’t be wet, nor should it be crumbly.  Give it a quick knead.  It should be the consistency of Play Dough.  No need to flour your work surface.  It doesn’t stick.  Roll it out until very thin.  It is so easy to work with.  Cut with a glass, biscuit cutter, or a press.  They should be approximately 3 ½ “rounds.  Fill with a good TBSP of potato, whatever extras you’re adding on top, and fold over.  Smear a little beaten egg onto only one side of the dough along the edge.  Press to seal. Any scraps of dough should be added back into the bowl.

     Lay completed Pierogis on a clean dish towel and cover with another towel.  This will keep the dough from drying out.  A dish towel is the standard.  However, this time I used Parchment Paper.  If the objective is to keep them from drying out, won’t a cotton cloth remove some of their moisture?  Parchment Paper worked wonderfully for me.

TO COOK PIEROGIES:

     Drop one at a time into a large pan of salted boiling water.  I would cook only 6 at one time.  They will sink like a stone, but that’s ok.  After about one minute, lightly push a spatula under them to make sure they aren’t stuck to the bottom of pan.  It doesn’t happen often, but it is possible.  In 3-4 minutes they will rise to the top.  They should be fully cooked and ready to eat with butter and sautéed onions. 

TO FRY COOKED PIEROGIES:

     I prefer mine browned in a little bacon grease, but you could also use olive oil or butter (or a little of both).  If you’re using onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, etc. add them now.  Don’t crowd the pan.  Cook until browned on one side, flip over and brown the other side. 

Serve with Sour Cream, Blue Cheese or Ranch Dressing.

Pictured below is the dough press I used.  A set of 3 is available for around $4.00.  I may invest in the press that makes 6 at once.  I think it might be a time-saver.  These presses can be used for hand pies, calzone, ravioli, empanadas, and all sorts of other fun projects.

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Gail Westover, a Treasure Lake resident has been cooking most of her life.  Hobbies come and go, as we all know, but for nearly 50 years, she has made homemade cooking a priority when it comes to feeding her family.  There is nothing she won’t cook, from Braided Danish and Marble Rye Bagels to International foods of all sorts.  “When you’ve cooked as many years as I have, nothing will scare you,” Gail says.  She admits that she has an extremely hard time following someone else’s recipe and has become a talented recipe developer.  We are happy to welcome Chew Wanna Eat? to The Lake News where you will have access to her creations.

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