Thursday, September 23, 2010

Piergoies-channeling my inner Pole

Last weekend I happened to catch a few minutes of Diners, Driveins, and Dives on Food Network. I don't watch much Food Network anymore, since it turned into Food Competition Network, but I was surfing and Triple D was on at the time. I like the show a bit, it features a spiky-haired guy traveling around and eating food from some of the country's best down- to- earth eateries. They all feature homemade everything. None of them rely on frozen, pre-packaged, anything, in other words, the kind of restaurant at which you'd actually want to eat.

Can you guess I don't like chain restaurants much? I don't really see why I should pay money to have someone heat up frozen, pre-packaged food for me. If I want that, I can do it myself. If I go out to eat, I want something I wouldn't make at home, or something that someone makes better than I do. (Is there such a thing?)

On this particular episode, the spiky blond guy was visiting an Eastern European place in Minnesota. I am not a huge fan of Eastern European food, it seems pretty bland to me, and not terribly interesting. But they showed the restaurant's homemade vareneky, or pierogies. They looked amazing. Nothing like the crap that comes out of a box. Since Rochester seems to lack a Ukranian/Polish restaurant, and since my Russian sister-in-law's pierogy is more like a cabbage filled bread than a savory dumpling, I decided to make my own. I couldn't find any recipes for the one's they make at the place in Minnesota, so I settled for finding a few different recipes and turning it into something approximating what I saw on the show. I don't know how it compared for taste, but mine were excellent. And not really terribly hard to make. One batch was enough for four of us for dinner, with no leftovers, and only a little fighting over the last two.

June's Pierogies

For the filling, I used leftover mashed potatoes and mixed in some sauteed onions and grated cheddar cheese. That's it. Pretty darned simple, huh?

3 C Flour
1/2 C Sour Cream
1/2 C softened butter
1 Egg

Mix all ingredients with a dough hook in a stand mixer, or kill yourself and mix by hand, I don't really care. I know which one I'll be doing. Roll out until 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 3 in circles, fill with 1 T filling (you want them pretty full, you should just barely be able to close them.) Seal by pinching together. Boil a few at a time in salted water until they float.

After you have cooked them all, put some butter in a saute pan and add at least one sliced onion. If you really like onion, add two. Saute it gently until browned and caramelized. Remove the onion and add more butter. add the pierogies a few at a time and lightly brown on both sides. Serve immediately with the onions and a side of sour cream mixed with horseradish.


Katie said...

LOVE your post! I'm a 1/4 Polish, but my husbands family is 100% so we grew up eating similar foods. My mom never made home-made piergoies growing up. I was intrigued when I found out that MIL always made them from scratch. We are LONG over due to make up a few hundred. Since she had all boys she always made them by herself, but now that she has me we try to meet up quarterly (and around major holidays) to make up a few hundred. We divide them amongst all the family members... have a big piergoie dinner and then freeze the rest! We've never put sour cream in our dough before... Might have to try this. Thanks for sharing your story & recipe!

The Reader said...

So, as usual, a few questions.

Does the 1 3 in circle get pinched up around the filling, or do 2 get sandwiched together with the filling inside?

If I can't get sour cream here, can I leave it out or sub something else in the dough?

How hard will it be if I mix by hand because I don't own a mixer or food processor???

These sound yummy. Convince me they are worth the hassle....