Saturday, June 14, 2014

"ATW80DS" - Pierogi / Pelmeni / Pirozhki

We are coming to the close of our "Around the World in 80 Days" Challenge and since this will be our last Super Saturday Cooking School day in this series, We thought it would be fun to show everybody how we make Pierogi.

Pierogi are yummy little filled dumplings. The key to a good pierogi is that first they are boiled, then they are  fried in butter with onions. Traditionally, they are stuffed with a potato filling made of mashed potatoes. sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit and in the central /eastern European provenances, they are usually semicircular, but are rectangular or triangular in some cuisines.

We start with a very simple dough based on an old recipe that Slavic baker friend of mine gave me many years ago...
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. (or slightly more) sifted flour
Beat egg, milk, water and salt in a bowl. Sift flour onto a work surface making a volcano like hill with the flour and form a hole. Pour the water mixture in a thin stream and work in the flour. Mix well and knead until smooth. Rest under a bowl for 15 minutes.

Roll dough thinly as you would pasta dough (a pasta machine may be used).

Cut out circles. Place a spoon of filling on one side; fold the other side over the filling and pinch to seal. The pierogi will be the shape of a half circle. If pierogi are not sealing well, paint the edges with beaten egg white or water.

 Our favorite filling is a Chicken and Potato Filling:
1 1/2 lbs mashed potatoes, cooked and cooled
1 cup shredded chicken
1/4 cup canned corn (drained)
2 onions, finely minced and browned in 2-3 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsp. cottage cheese
2 tbsp. chopped chives, scallions, leeks or green onions

 After pierogi are filled and sealed, boil them in salted water for 10-15 minutes, or until they rise to the surface and are cooked through (try one to see exactly how long it will take to cook through as this will vary due to size and other conditions).

The pierogi may be served as is with a little melted butter, or they can also be browned in a little butter before serving. Leftover pierogi are best browned or steamed the next day.

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