Before my work trip to Poland last year, I'd never heard of pierogis but we ate them several times while we were there - in fact, it was the first thing I ate in Poland, as we waited for a connecting flight at the airport in Warsaw, and we also went for a meal at a restaurant in Gdynia that specialised in all sorts of pierogis. (To find out more about the pierogis I ate in Poland, check out my blogposts here and here.)
I was delighted to see that this month's Polish-themed Kitchen Trotter box included not only a recipe but also a little gadget for making homemade pierogis. It is so simple but works brilliantly.
Even my very first pierogi came out perfectly and it was so simple that in the end, the kids took over ! I pretty much followed the recipe from the box, using sauerkraut but replacing the dried porcini mushrooms with leftover cooked pork, but I also made the ones that we had most enjoyed in Poland, filled with a cheesy mash, even if I didn't have the curd cheese that they traditionally use in Poland.
Cheese, Onion & Potato and Cabbage and Pork Pierogis
for the dough :
filling 1 :
boiled potatoes, skins on
150g grated cheese
1/2 an onion
filling 2 :
a thick slice of roast pork
1/2 an onion
to serve ;
Boil the potatoes, skins on. While they are cooking, fry the finely chopped onions until soft and starting to caramelise. Drain and mash the potatoes with butter and a splash of milk, if you like. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese and half of the onions. Leave to cool.
Time to make filling two. Finely chop the cooked pork. I used ready-cooked sauerkraut so I just mixed it in with the pork and the remaining onions.
I have never made dough like this in my life but it does work ! Put the water on to boil and toss in the butter and a good pinch of salt.
Reduce to a simmer and gradually add the flour.
Use a wooden spoon to incorporate all the flour. Turn off the heat and work it a bit more to form a rough dough.
Put the dough on a wooden board and leave to cool until you can handle it without burning your fingers !
Get your fillings ready.
Pull off a piece of dough and roll it out until it's thin - don't make it so thin it will split or tear but don't leave it too thick or it will be stodgy. Aim for a couple of millimetres.
Put the rolled out dough in the pierogi maker, add a spoon full of filling of your choice and press it shut to seal it. You can obviously do this by hand if you don't have the little gadget, then crimp the edges of the pastry with a fork. Seal any holes with a tiny piece of dough pulled off the ball. To cook them, put on a pan of boiling salted water then reduce the heat to a gentle boil, carefully slide the pierogi in and when they rise to the top they are cooked. Serve sprinkled with grilled onions.
I really love this little contraption - I think I'll have to make some baked empanadas next or maybe some mini fruit pies.
In fact, I might just buy a roll of ready made pastry and let Juliette make jam ones all by herself !
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