Delicious Polish Pierogi…

I recently made a mammoth batch of 180 pierogi for the recent Plate Lickers supper club

Pierogi are basically Polish ravioli and can have a variety of different fillings. They’re a little bit fiddly to make first time around but in my opinion are well worth the effort involved. After making 180 I was a total pro :). However, I’d recommend that you stick to a smaller number to begin with. The recipe below will make enough dough for about 60 pierogi.

Start by making your filling so that it has time to cool before you use it to make the pierogi. 

I found this website, which gave me loads of ideas for fillings. I decided to go for sauerkraut, carrot and sour cream to start with…

To make enough for 60 pierogi you need…

1 small onion, finely diced

300g sauerkraut (you can buy this in packets or jars at most Polish shops or large supermarkets)

3 carrots, grated

3 tbsp sour cream

Put a knob of butter in a frying pan and fry the onion until soft. Add the drained sauerkraut and carrot and cook on a low heat until the carrot is soft. Be careful not to have your pan too hot, you don’t want your sauerkraut to brown. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat. Stir in the sour cream and set aside to cool.

I also made my favourite mushroom filling, which is one I use every year to make uszka at Christmas time (blogged here)…

To make enough for 60 pierogi you need…

60g dried porcini mushrooms

Approx 10 chestnut mushroom, chopped finely

1 small onion, finely diced

1 egg

3 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs

Pour boiling water over the porcini mushrooms and leave to soak until they are soft. Remove them from the water being careful not to disturb any grit that may have settled at the bottom of the bowl, and chop finely.

Put a knob of butter in a frying pan and fry the onion until soft. Add the fresh and rehydrated porcini mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool for a few minutes before adding the egg and breadcrumbs to make a thick gloopy filling. It looks pretty nasty but I guarantee, tastes delicious!

The final filling I tried was potato, cheese & caraway seed. To make it you need…

5 red potatoes

1 small onion, finely chopped

250g curd cheese (can be found in the Polish section of large supermarkets and has the texture of dried out cottage cheese)

2 tsp caraway seeds

Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft, drain and mash them well. Stir in the cheese, caraway seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

To make the pierogi dough you need…

3 cups plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sour cream

1 egg 

1 cup water

Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. 

Beat the egg with the sour cream and pour into the well.

Roll up your sleeves and get messy, bring all of the ingredients together with your hands. Add a small splash of water at a time until all of the ingredients come together to make a dough thats soft but not sticky. If you overdo it with the water, just add a bit more flour until you achieve a good consistency.

Wrap the dough up in clingfilm until you are ready to use it so that it doesn’t dry out.

It’s quite a stretchy dough, which makes rolling it out a bit tricky. I recommend only working with half of the dough at a time. Dust your surface well with flour and roll out the dough to about 2mm thickness. Use a 3 inch (approx) pastry cutter to cut out as many discs as you can fit (save the off cuts to roll out again to make even more)…

Brush the discs with beaten egg and spoon a small amount of your chosen filling into the middle…

You’ll work out the optimum amount of filling through trial and error but try to avoid overfilling. A burst pierogi is a failed pierogi!

Pick the circle of pastry up and fold in half, pinching gently around the edge as if you were making a mini cornish pasty…

Place each perfect pierogi on a clingfilm lined baking tray but be careful not to let them touch each other, they have a nasty habit of sticking together before they’re cooked.

To cook them, bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Drop a few pierogi in at a time and wait for them to float to the surface, then simmer for 4-5 minutes…

Remove them gently with a slatted spoon. If you’re eating them straight away, have a hot frying pan at the ready, pop in a knob of butter and fry the pierogi for a few minutes on each side until they go a nice crispy golden brown…

Once you’ve boiled them you can leave them to cool and keep them for a couple of days in the fridge or pop them in the freezer to use another day. When you want to eat them just repeat the process of putting them in some simmering water until they float and fry in butter as above.

Enjoy!

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