The Daring Cooks Make Russian Style Pierogi




The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

This month's Daring Cook's challenge was great! There are so many different options that you could use as fillings, both savory and sweet. I decided to stick with the traditional filling that Anula provided from her family. It was delicious! My husband, who apparently has to rename everything I make, decided they should be called loaded potato poppers. After boiling them, we pan fried them in the leftover bacon grease! Delicious! And sooo healthy! :) 
The given recipe called for 3 large potatoes, so I used 3 large potatoes. However, I think the large potatoes at my local grocer must be on some massive steroids, because I ended up with WAY more filling than dough. And I doubt it was because of those extra two strips of bacon I added, either. I could have easily made a triple batch of dough for all this filling! I used a 2" biscuit cutter and could only manage to get about a teaspoon of filling inside each little round. I think one of my mammoth sized potatoes would have been just fine. Maybe one and a half. Definitely not three, though! :)
An optional challenge this month was to use ingredients that represent our location. Being in Kansas City, fit was obvious that my ingredient of choice would be BBQ! However, I had some problems deciding how to use BBQ in the pierogi, and every idea I came up with I didn't like. So in the end I decided to make the recipe as stated in the challenge, and serve it with a side of BBQ. We went to Gates BBQ to get some Briscuit, but wouldn't you know it, they were out. And out of almost everything. How can a BBQ restaurant be out of BBQ? Anyway, we did get some slow roasted BBQ Beef, and that actually went really well with the potato poppers! 
Russian style pierogi (makes 4 generous servings, around 30 dumplings)
(Traditional Polish recipe, although each family will have their own version, this is Anula's family recipe)
Dough:
2 to 2 1/2 cups (300 to 375 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
About 1 cup (250 ml) lukewarm water
Filling:
3 big potatoes, cooked & mashed (1 1/2 cup instant or leftover mashed potatoes is fine too)
1 cup (225 g) cottage cheese, drained    
1 onion, diced & sauteed in butter until clear
3 slices of streaky bacon, diced and fried till crispy (you can add more bacon if you like or omit that part completely if you’re vegetarian)
1 egg yolk (from medium egg)
1 tablespoon (15 g) butter, melted    
1/4 (1.25 ml) teaspoon salt    
pinch of pepper to taste    
1. Combine all the ingredients for the filling (it’s best to use one’s hands to do that) put into the bowl, cover and set aside in the fridge until you have to use it.
2. Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add the salt and a little lukewarm at a time (in my situation 1/2 cup was enough). Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough with a bowl or towel. You’re aiming for soft dough. Let it rest 20 minutes.
3. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (1/8” or about 3 millimeters) cut with a 2-inch (5 cm) round or glass (personally I used 4-inch/10 cm cutter as it makes nice size pierogi - this way I got around 30 of them and 1 full, heaped teaspoon of filling is perfect for that size). Spoon a portion (teaspoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough.
4. Bring a large, low saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop in the pierogi, not too many, only single layer in the pan! Return to the boil and reduce heat. When the pierogi rise to the surface, continue to simmer a few minutes more ( usually about 5 minutes). Remove one dumpling with a slotted spoon and taste if ready. When satisfied, remove remaining pierogi from the water.
5. Serve immediately preferably with creme fraiche or fry. Cold pierogi can be fried.  Boiled Russian pierogi can be easily frozen and boiled taken out straight from the freezer. I fried mine and then we dipped them in sour cream. YUM!

7 comments:

  1. Great job with your pierogi. Local BBQ alongside it is a good localization, I think! I like your husband's nickname... I think I would like to hear what he might call some of my "creations"!!

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  2. Jen,, I love that you fried them in bacon grease. My ex used to scramble the eggs after making the bacon, and it was heavenly! Your pierogi's look and sound amazing..especially with the side of BBQ sauce and BBQ beef. Yum!

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  3. It looks great I really like it.

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  4. Your pierogis look fantastic, and frying them up in bacon fat is the best way to eat them! Nice local touch with the BBQ!

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  5. A side of bbq beef sounds perfect! I think I'd like a side of bbq with everything. :) Your pierogi look great and I agree with Lisa on the bacon fat. I bet they tasted AMAZING.

    Aha, Potato poppers is a brilliant name.

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  6. Potato Poppers, I like that!

    Great job and that brisket looks delicious! OmNomNom!

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  7. Oh my..pan fried in bacon grease...yum!

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