Our long awaited plan to get together and "cook up a batch of pierogi" finally materialized yesterday. Kasia (is she Polish or what?) and I have been planning a cook date for several months and we finally succeeded. I was stunned when she walked in with a huge canvas tote bag full of all sorts of gadgets and cookery items but I am glad she did 'cause we needed every one of them along with some good old fashioned muscle. I suspected that we would be up to our elbows in flour for the better part of the day, so I started dinner at 9 AM...country spare ribs with sauerkraut slow-cooked in beer and caraway seeds for the better part of the day.
I had the counters cleared for the pierogi process; she promised we would be at it for a while, so figured we would need all the space I could muster. I was right! She whipped out the recipe and was asking if I had the ingredients at hand..potatoes (yes, peeled, cut into 1" pieces and ready for boiling), onions, flour, oil, eggs and shredded cheddar cheese...check, check and check. I saw the recipe laying on the end of the counter and hurried to check it out...What's oliwa I asked. Oil, she said. Ok, what's maka? Flour...I KNEW she was enjoying this! I had never seen a Polish recipe before; she explained while it was in Polish, it was not exact in measurement or direction. It still had the old standard quips, mix the dough to the right consistency and cook till done. How are we supposed to know the answer to either of these directions? I told her to look at the recipe that I had printed out from the Internet and see if the process was about the same. She glanced it over and said "really the secret is in the dough and dough scares me." I said, not to worry I love dough...you get the ingredients and I will see to it that the dough-part comes out right. We dove in.
They are not difficult to make but we both agree that it is better to have two people making them simultaneously since the shear volume requires company and morale support. We had a ball rolling and stuffing as you can see by the pictures. I promise when I get the English version of the recipe, I will post it here. Here are some shots of the process
Kasia is mixing the dough, I recently picked up this really cool dough gadget. It makes the mixing as easy as it can be and does a very nice job incorporating the ingredients without overworking it
We rolled out little chunks of dough and began the cutting and stuffing process. I did not have a 2.5 inch cookie cutter so we used a small plastic storage container...it was about the right size. Kasia said they always used a teacup.
See? You make the circle and put the small rounded bit of potato-cheese filling into it, squeeze a bit and bring the edges together, press to seal and remove any air pockets. But the real secret is in getting the dough REALLY thin.
Stack them on a cookie sheet and cover with a clean cotton dish towel. This keeps them from drying out.
/>Then when ready to cook, just boil them in water until they float. drain and eat them with sour cream. IF you have any leftovers, they can be fried in butter with onions and or bacon bits the next day. They are even better then, than the first time! We made a total of 97 pierogi! I thought it was a lot, but now I am already sad that there are so few left and WHEN will I do this again!?
Here it is...as promised.
the pierogi recipe
Pierogi Dough (for approx 80-100 pierogi)
4 cups flour
2 oz salted butter,
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups warm water
pinch of salt
dash of veg/olive oil
Place the dough on a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the center and place into it the butter and egg yolks, oil and salt. With a dull knife or spatula, start to manipulate the eggs and butter, incorporating some flour. Knead the dough, alternating flour and water until the dough reaches a finished consistency. If dough is too moist, add some flour; if too dry, add water.
While rolling out and forming pierogi, keep the remaining dough covered by a pot or bowl to keep it from drying out.
Potato and Cheese Filling (this filling is traditionally called Ruskie pierogi)
Potatoes (3-4 lbs?)
Cook up potatoes and mash. Dice onion finely and brown. Combine all ingredients to taste.
Form filling into small balls and use it to stuff the dough.