April 4, 2010

Easter Pierogies

In the spirit of my Polish heritage I decided that this would be the year I would learn how to make pierogies. From scratch. I don't really know if pierogies are typical Polish Easter food, but I remember my grandmother used to make them for Eastertime. Martha Stewart featured a great how-to article on pierogies in her April magazine, and also did a step-by-step demonstration on her tv show last week. I plan to get my grandmother's recipe next, but figured I would start with Martha's since it was right under my nose, and since with the tv show I could literally watch her do it. I halved the recipe she had in the magazine, and made the dough, stirring it with a wooden spoon as I added the flour. Once I started kneading it, it required a lot more flour to get it to stop sticking to my hands and the counter. But eventually it became one lovely ball of dough.
I had cooked the cabbage the day before, squeezing out all the excess water. I don't have a meat grinder like Martha suggests, so I used a small hand blender to chop the cabbage. I added 4 oz cream cheese (remember, I halved her recipe), 2 T melted butter and salt and pepper.

After letting the dough sit for an hour, I rolled it out pretty thinly.Using a glass, I cut what I thought were 3-inch circles into the dough. These pierogies ended up a little smaller than I imagined, and I didn't stuff much filling in this first batch. I decided to try a slightly larger glass for the next batch, and I think it did the trick.

This dough is actually pretty amazing and stretchy. I realized that you can stuff a lot of filling in one small circle of dough, and stretch the dough around it to close. Batch by batch I dropped the little delicate dumplings into a pot of salted boiling water, and waited 2-3 minutes after they rose to the top before pulling them out. As per Martha's suggestion (or rather, her mother's suggestion) I melted butter and put a little on the platter before plating the dumplings, and then poured some melted butter on top of them too. I have a bunch left over for tomorrow, and I'm going to try sauteing them in a pan, like my grandmother used to do. Boiled and buttered is very tasty, but a little crispy brown goodness never hurt anyone either. I'm so glad this was a success, and I'm looking forward to making them again soon, this time with mashed potato filling, with mushroom filling, and with a sauerkraut filling, as opposed to the "sweet cabbage" filling I did this time. Pierogies are DE-lish!

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