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The World of Pierogi!

Daring Cooks

Greetings Daring Cooks! The August Challenge is brought to you by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. This month, we will be exploring the wonderful world of pierogi, those versatile little dumplings, in name and fillings. Almost every culture has one on its menu. They can be made from potato or bread or, in our case, flour. Wikipedia provides a nice overview of various types of dumplings around the world.

Your challenge is to make the dough from scratch and a savory or sweet filling of your choice. Below are some traditional pierogi fillings. As an optional challenge, we would like to see non-traditional fillings that reflect your locale. It could be savoury or sweet. Let’s bust open pierogi and make them a true international dumpling!

Download the printable. pdf file HERE

Notes:

  • 99% of your dumplings will freeze well so don’t be worried and make more if you want, you can freeze them either before or after boiling (if freezing after boiling, boil them ‘al dente’ not like for immediate consumption)
  • when boiling pierogi from freezer put them straight into boiling, salted water - do not thaw them before or you’ll be left with one big ball of mixed dough and filling!
  • most of your boiled but already cold pierogi may be fried (in some cases it will actually make them taste better then only boiling)
  • it’s a good idea to make double batch of pierogi dough and a few kinds of fillings at the same time (saves a lot of work and you can serve dinner and dessert at the same time)
  • when boiling your pierogi try to boil each type of filling separately, sometimes your dumplings can fall apart and you really don’t want a mix of strawberries with bacon...
  • when sealing pierogi don’t allow any filling to go between the edges as it won’t seal properly and your pierogi will fall apart when boiling, you don’t have to seal the edges using water, egg whites etc. it should seal by itself very tight
  • if your dumplings stick to each other during boiling add a tablespoon of oil into the water

Blog-checking lines:
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.


Posting Date:

August 14, 2010


Equipment list

  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Scale
  • Knives, utensils
  • Bowls to mix ingredients
  • Pans, pots to cook fillings and pierogi
  • Pierogi forms (really not necessary, you can get them easily in Polish or ethnic shops, they are very(!) cheap and handy too) if you don’t have these forms don’t worry! your hands and a fork will do


Pierogi forms


Cottage Cheese Wareneki (pierogi)

Dough:
½ cup (125 ml) milk (can be whole milk, 2% or skim milk)
½ cup (125 ml) whipping cream
3 large egg whites
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
3 cups (450 gm) all-purpose flour

1. Mix flour and salt, add other ingredients, and knead dough until you have a smooth dough. (I kneaded this dough quite a bit, and it yielded a nice, pliable dough).
2. On a floured surface roll out fairly thin (1/8” or about 3 millimeters), cut into 2” (5 cm) squares, and fill with 1 tsp (5ml) cottage cheese filling (see below).

Filling:
Traditional
1 lb (455 g) dry cottage cheese (this is usually found beside the “wet” cottage cheese in the supermarket’s dairy aisle. If you can’t find it, please see below for how to proceed with the “wet” cottage cheese.)
3 large egg yolks
Salt to taste

1. Mix well all the ingredients for the filling.
2. Put 1 rounded teaspoon (5 ml) of the filling in each square, fold corners to form a triangle, seal edges well using your fingers or a fork
3. Cook in salted, boiling water for 5 minutes.

Boiled pierogi can also be fried after boiling for a nice crunchy dumpling.

If you can’t find dry cottage cheese, simply drain normal cottage cheese by nesting the cottage in a few layers of cheese cloth or a fine sieve over a bowl.

Adapted from The Mennonite Cookbook


Sweet version of Warenki – cottage cheese and strawberries served with Greek yogurt


* You can very easy make a sweet version of Warenki - just add some fruits and sugar to the cheese filling and mix well together (strawberries or blueberries are great idea!).

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.

Pierogi made using the form


Pierogi made by hand

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.


Gluten-free pierogi recipe (from Recipezaar)

Other types of fillings:

Potato and cheese
4 – 5 boiled potatoes
4 table spoons butter (60 g) or olive oil (60 ml)
50 ml (3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) milk
1 egg white (from medium egg)
about 120 ml (½ cup) farmers’ cheese (any unripened cheese like Indian Paneer)
salt and pepper

Meat and cabbage
200 g (7 oz) cooked meat (minced or cut very finely)
500 g white cabbage (chopped and simmered in a little bit of water, until soft)
1 onion (diced and fried)
1 whole medium egg
1 tablespoon (15g) butter
dry breadcrumbs (add as much to hold the filling together, about 2 tablespoons)
salt and pepper

Soy bean filling
350 g soy beans (canned, drained and minced)
2 medium eggs
1 onion (diced and fired)
100 g (2/3 cup) dry breadcrumbs
salt and pepper

Sauerkraut filling
2 cups (500 g) sauerkraut
1 big carrot, grated
1 shallot, chopped and fried with a tablespoon of butter
few (about 3) wild mushrooms (I used dry ones, you can use fresh but chop them and fry on some butter before adding to the sauerkraut cabbage)
salt, pepper and cumin
- Saute all the ingredients together until soft, cool before filling pierogi.

Sauerkraut pierogi

You can also fill pierogi with whole seasonal fruits for example- strawberries, blueberries, morels, grated apples etc. To prevent the fruits from ‘sogging’ just add a little bit of potato flour inside with the fruit and sweeten them after the boiling on the plate rather than putting sugar inside.

A little visual help:
Video: How to make varenyky / pierogi (Youtube)
Video: How to make pierogi (About.com)

Anula
LizG
The Mennonite Cookbook & Anula's Family Recipe
Unknown and Anula's Family
Waverly
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This is completely outside of the box for me and I am excited about it. Thanks for the guidance. It looks doable and delicious!