Saturday, August 14, 2010

PIEROGI with various fillings: POTATO & CHEESE, CABBAGE & MUSHROOM, FETA CHEESE & SPINACH


We're making pierogi!!! I love them, as I love any type of dumpling! It's just that I never thought I would be making them. From scratch. Buying them ready to eat has been what I've been used to. Until this August 2010. The Daring Cooks’ Challenge, hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen, decreed that ready made would be no more. Make pierogi they said. Make the dough. Make the filling. Then come up with your own filling that best represents the location where you live. When you're done, post everything and let us know how you did. OK, Daring Cooks, and Daring Anula, and Daring Liz. This is Daring Ana telling you that I am up to the challenge. Over and out. You'll find me in the kitchen.



I chose the pierogi dough from Martha Stewart's web site. Martha, who is Polish, learned how to make pierogi from "big Martha," her beloved mother. Several of their favorite, tried and true family recipes are demonstrated and shared on the web site. Since Martha's cooking reputation is solid, and since she raves about this dough, I knew I couldn't go wrong by picking it, and I was right. The dough came out beautiful and very easy to handle. Thank you Martha. Here's how to make it:


Pierogi Dough Ingredients:
1 large egg, lightly whisked
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup water
4 & 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour, some of it to be used for bench surface and for dusting
Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg. Add the sour cream, and whisk until smooth. Add the milk and 1 cup water, and whisk until combined.
  2. Slowly add about 3 cups flour, and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
  3. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and work in about 1 cup flour as you knead. Use a plastic scraper to lift dough as it will stick to the counter before flour is worked in. Continue kneading for 8 to 10 minutes, working in another 1/2 cup flour. The dough should be elastic in texture and no longer sticky. Be careful not to add too much flour, as this will toughen dough.
  4. Place dough in a lightly floured bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rest while you prepare filling.
Roll out the Dough:


On a floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/8-inch thick. Make sure you are just rolling the dough and not rolling and pressing.


Using a glass or a cookie cutter measuring 2 1/2 inches in diameter, cut out as many circles as possible. Cut the circles close together, trying to save as much space as possible. Gather the dough scraps together, roll them out again, and continue cutting.


Fill the Pierogi:






  1. Lay a dry, clean towel on your work surface; set aside.
  2. Place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each dough circle.
  3. Holding a circle in your hand, fold dough over the filling, and pinch the edges, forming a well-sealed crescent; transfer to the towel. Continue this process until all dough circles are filled.


Cook the Pierogi:

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to the boil. Drop the pierogi in the boiling water in batches. They will sink to the bottom of the pot and then rise to the top. Once they rise, let them cook for about a minute more.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook one stick of butter over medium-high heat until nut-brown in color, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and drizzle the butter onto a serving platter, leaving any burned sediment behind. Remove the pierogi from the pot, and transfer to the buttered platter. By placing the pierogi in a pre-buttered platter you will prevent them from sticking. Serve immediately. You may drizzle some more butter on top.
  3. Note: Some pierogi are fried, some are sauteed in butter, some get butter drizzled over them. I don't really like fried foods, nor do I like to smother foods in butter. Drizzling a bit of butter on top is all right I suppose. I served some pierogi coated with olive oil and they were excellent!
I chose to make three types of filling:
POTATO AND CHEESE FILLING:



  • 3 large potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 3/4 cup cheese, a mixture of cream cheese and cheddar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients until well incorporated. Reserve the filling until ready to use.


CABBAGE AND MUSHROOM FILLING:




  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 shallot, chopped and sautéed in one tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cook the cabbage and carrot in boiling water until they nice and soft. Drain very well and reserve. Sauté the shallot, garlic, ginger and mushrooms in the vegetable oil until the are soft. Add the cabbage mixture and season with salt and pepper. Let cool before filling the pierogi.
Pierogi with Feta cheese and Spinach Filling:


Being of Greek heritage, I love the combination of feta cheese and spinach. After all they are a popular pair in Greek cuisine. This recipe combines feta, spinach and pierogi dough to make a hybrid Greek-Polish dumpling. One of the best things about it is that it contains no butter what so ever! The pierogi are topped with just a bit of olive oil and Parmesan cheese before they are served. Here is the recipe for this filling:
Ingredients:

  • 1 box of chopped frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • some olive oil and Parmesan cheese for topping
  • salt and pepper to taste
Thaw and chop the spinach in small pieces. Even though it's all ready chopped you will need to chop it in smaller pieces. Cook it in a bit of boiling salted water until it is soft. Drain it very well. In a medium skillet heat the vegetable oil and add the shallots. Sauté until the the shallots are is soft. Add the parsley, spinach and mint, and mix well. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cheeses and egg. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Let cool before using. When the pierogi is cooked, serve it topped with some olive oil and Parmesan cheese.


7 comments:

  1. Greek Girl from QueensAugust 15, 2010 at 8:31 AM

    Hi Ana - I just recently bought a plastic pierogi maker mold on ebay, and have been really enjoying making them with this little gadget, but I think I prefer making them the old fashioned way, like I do with bourekias. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Hello- I just looked at your recipe and I started drooling! :D They look like the wild greens little pies that are made in Crete. I would suggest to try chopped leeks along with onions and dill. You could also try a bit of grated nutmeg with the spinach filling.
    Thanks a million,a very good idea for dinner!
    Stella.

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  3. Hi Stella, and thank you for your suggestions. I absolutely love the idea of onions, leeks and dill. It's a shame I didn't think of it myself. I think it will make them taste better. As for the nutmeg, also a good idea but I would use a very tiny amount. Many people tell me nutmeg tastes good with spinach, but I don't like nutmeg -which is a shame because a lot of nice recipes call for it. If you are wondering about the dough, I recommend it very much. It's soft and delicious.
    By the way, I think Crete is so beautiful! It has everything: large cities, small villages, beautiful beaches, archeological sites…
    Thanks for your comment, and happy cooking.

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  4. Ana! This a reaaly tasty dfish but so hard to performing.
    There is a traditional Polish filling - sour cabbage with fryed onoins and mushrooms

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    Replies
    1. Hello, I made the cabbage and mushroom filling and I did use onions with it, but I used fresh cabbage instead of sour. I do like sour cabbage very much. We make pork with sour cabbage. Very good. However, when I made this recipe it was very hot outside. I was not about to get sour cabbage. That's more of a winter dish for me. You are right about the difficulty level. It is very time consuming, and I chose to make it on a hot, hot, day, which only made it more difficult to make. The end results were very good. The dough recipe is excellent! My favorite stuffing out of the three I tried was the cabbage and mushroom. Thanks for stopping by, and I will stop by your blog too!

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  5. Time is at a premium here. So, when I get the urge to make pierogi or use up some left over scraps, I use the small won-ton skins, available at large supermarkets. Works out beautifully. Bon Apetit

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  6. Yes, I agree with you, won ton skins are very convenient. However, this post was for a "Daring cooks" challenge, and we had to make every thing from scratch. Plus we had to make three different types, if I remember correctly.

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