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.
I chose the Russian Style pierogi recipe and used the filling as a launch pad for my own creation. Here is their dough recipe:
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
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
My Filling - using the above as a great starting point - I wanted to incorporate what this area has to offer this time of year:
1 large Russett potato (local)
3 slices of double smoked, dry cured bacon - chopped
1/2 c scallions, sliced (local)
2 fresh cobs of corn (local)
1 c cottage cheese
1 tsp fresh chopped red chili pepper (from our garden)
1 egg (local)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
|Fresh Local Corn|
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 served mine with Vidalia onions sauteed in the leftover rendered bacon fat. VERY TASTY! It enhanced the bacon inside. The pierogies were tender and delicious - the sweet corn matched the heat of the chili pepper perfectly.
I loved this challenge - thanks again to LizG and Anula - the recipe was very easy to make. The dough was a pleasure to work with and it was a great base for experimentation. Well done! I even had enough for a batch that was frozen that will be a treat for another day :-)
Looking forward to next month's challenge - see you all in September!