Okay, I know I promised this a long time ago, but as we know, life got in the way of recent blogging timeliness – so better late than never.
Our Easter dinners are decidedly Polish. Every year we would search out the meat markets and find one that sold homemade fresh and smoked kielbasa. (This year we found one about a half hour away that was wonderful.) Gram would also make a ham, though in later years we learned to love those spiral sliced hams with a brown sugar/mustard glaze. Polish Easter Bread was made in big batches and exchanged within the family – with smaller custard cup sized loaves made for each child. That recipe can be found here: https://apolishgranddaughter.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/grams-easter-bread/ The vegetable was always asparagus and then Gram would have boiled and/or mashed potatoes. Gram did not make pierogies – though her sister, my Aunt Fran, did. This year we wanted to “up” the Polish factor in our Easter and decided to drop the potatoes and try our hand at pierogies instead.
In looking for a pierogie recipe I found that the most successful all included sour cream in the dough. So that helped me narrow down the recipes I considered in taking on this task.
First – I cannot really give you the recipe as I got it from another blog – thedrivencook. You can find the post and the recipe here: http://thedrivencook.com/2012/01/24/pierogies/
We did two different fillings – the potato and cheese filling and the mushroom and shallot filling – and basically followed their recipe. Here’s how it went.
First we made our fillings. Vash was a big help on this one.
We were also making a jello cake which is why you see some odd ingredients in the background. Anyway, making the potato filling was easy – it was basically mashed potates with cheese added. We made way more than we needed for these pierogies. You can only fit a small amount in each pierogie so don’t go overboard unless your family likes cheesey mashed potatoes.
Likewise, the mushroom/shallot filling was simple. Just chop and saute.
I was going to do the shredded cabbage filling too – substituting Amanda’s Maple Pecan Slaw recipe for the filling – but Chip vetoed it, saying he just wanted us to make the Maple Pecan Slaw for the meal (Amanda, I told you it is a HUGE favorite in this house), so we just added it to the Easter menu.
We followed the recipe for the dough and then rolled it out on our floured board. The first batch I rolled out. Parents, you may want to do this part – or do it again after the kids do it – because it needs to be really thin so it does not come out doughy or chewy, yet thick enough not to tear when you pull it over the filling. I rolled the dough for the mushroom filled pierogies and the boys rolled it for the potato filled pierogies – which is how I learned this one.
After you roll it, you need to cut your circles. You can use a biscuit cutter or do like we did – find a glass which is the right size and cut your circles.
Another hint I learned here. Work in small batches or get lots of little ones to jump in and help you get the filling on and close the pierogies. The dough needs to still be fairly moist to seal correctly. The longer it stays open to the air, the more the dough tends to dry out and you will find yourself having to wet the edges to get the edges to hold together – and it is IMPORTANT that the edges hold together so your fillings don’t come out when you are boiling them. I learned this on the mushroom pierogies and got lots of help when we started working on the potato pierogies.
Once the filling is on them you want to fold the pierogie dough over the filling, press your edges together and then grab a fork and crimp your edges without going all the way through it. Here is my gang at work making the pierogies.
They should look like this – but hey, my kids believe in free expression in their cooking.
Another very important point – if you are going to store them for later use, make sure you have either parchment paper or waxed paper separating them as they will pick up moisture and mush together into one big doughy mess that cannot be separated.
Next step is to cut your onions for sauteeing and get your pot of boiling water started. Start sauteeing your onions in butter and, when they are close to being soft, drop your pierogies in the boiling water. As they rise to the top (about 2-3 minutes), scoop them out with a slotted spoon and fry them in your butter and onions until golden.
I was reading that one of the important things in blogging is to have nice pictures. Sigh. Sorry folks – with me you get real life, which is generally kinda messy.
The pierogies came out wonderful – especially the mushroom ones. The potato ones could have either used more seasoning or a stronger cheese flavor – I will try using a sharper cheese next time. The only negative was when you bit into one where the dough was too thick, hence the advice about having an adult do the final roll out of the dough. I also think that they are better if you make and eat them the same day rather than making on one day and cooking on another. Really, they don’t take that long to make.
I will close with a picture of my big boy Markus, taken on Easter with his red squirrel he got in his Christmas stocking and his new blue bunny he got Easter morning and with Ladybug.
Hope you enjoy your pierogies as much as we enjoyed ours.