Feb 4, 2011

Game-Day Pierogies

If you grew up anywhere on the East Coast, or know people of Eastern European descent, then you're no stranger to pierogies. If not, here's a brief description. Every country has their own version of a dumpling: the Chinese have potstickers, the Italians have ravioli, Latin American countries have empanadas - well, the Polish have pierogies. They're traditionally filled with potatoes but everyone has their own twist, be it potatoes, meat or cheese. We both tried a couple different fillings and are sharing our absolute favorites. We figured that these would be perfect for the Superbowl this year, considering the Steelers are playing and pierogies are a staple in Pittsburgh. If you're making them for the Superbowl, you can prepare the dough and filling(s) ahead of time - especially if you're making a meat filling and need to slow-cook it, then you can fill and cook them right before game time.

Caitlin: Growing up in Cleveland, I was no stranger to a good pierogi; they were everywhere, but only a few people really did it right. I took the traditional potato filling and threw in a twist - sauteed pancetta (there's very little that tastes worse from the addition of pancetta, in my opinion). It was delicious! I also slow-cooked a pork loin and then sauteed it with sauerkraut, so the second filling was pork, sauerkraut and havarti cheese - just as delicious! I mixed some horseradish with sour cream and used it as a dipping sauce which went great with both kinds. If you've never made them before, they are a bit labor intensive, but way worth it, and definitely a good finger food idea for a party.

Caitlin's Version

 Monica: I have never eaten a pierogi before making them this past week, however, I've had empanadas, potstickers and ravioli so I had a vague idea of how these might look/taste.  Although making the pierogi is a bit time consuming, once you get going, everything seems to go quite quickly.  As Caitlin suggested, it is a good idea to have everything prepped so that when it comes time to making each one, you don't stress over the fillings.  I chose to make a potato & cheese version and I also made a potato, pancetta, and cheese version.  I have to say that I really loved them.  I served them with a sour cream and dill mixture.  One thing, just make sure you season the filling well in order to avoid any bland taste.  This might occur if you are strictly doing a potato version.  If you are only making one or two things for a party, this is definitely something you should try.

Monica's Version

Ingredient List 
*For the pierogi dough:
1 egg
3/4 cup sour cream
1 stick softened butter
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour
Filling options:
*For the potato and pancetta filling:
3 large potatoes
whole milk
3/4 cup sour cream
**To make it veggie:
3 large potatoes, mashed with sour cream, butter, salt
1 cup (maybe more) of shredded cheddar or cheese of your choice
***For the pork filling:
havarti cheese

Start the dough: mix the egg, sour cream, butter and salt together and form a dough. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center - add the sour cream mixture and mix until a dough forms. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
During this time, you can make your fillings. Scroll down to look at the fillings recipes.

Roll out the dough onto a floured work surface until its about 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch thick. Then take a circular cookie cutter (or the top of a glass) and cut the dough into circles. 

Spoon about 1 to 2 tbsp of the filling into half of the circle, then fold the other over it and press the edges down to seal it. Take a fork and press the edges around. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drop the pierogies in and wait until they float to the top of the water. When they rise to the top, start a timer for 4 minutes. When done, drain and set aside.
Heat butter and oil and a large skillet. Add the pierogies and brown on each side - about 2 minutes per side.
Serve with a dipping sauce and enjoy!

*Potato Filling
Peel and boil potatoes. When done, mash them with the milk and season with s&p. Stir in the sour cream. 
Saute the pancetta and when done, add it with some of the grease to the potatoes.  

**Potato & Cheese
Peel and boil potatoes.  Mash with sour cream, butter, and salt to taste. 
Grate cheese of your choice and fill piergoies with mash and cheese.

*Pork Filling 
Slow cook the pork loin in either the oven or the crock pot. In the oven, cook it at 250 for about 4-6 hours. Just season the meat with salt and pepper, put it in a baking dish with broth and let it cook - basting it often. In the crock pot, do the same on low.
When done, shred it and saute it in a skillet with sauerkraut. Take a few small pieces of havarti cheese and add it to the mix. Drain well (!!) - this is very important because if you're filling dough with moist meat the pierogies won't seal right and open in the boiling water - trust me...

There are a variety of fillings: meat, mushrooms, cheese - just experiment and find something that you like. If you try any of our fillings, comment below and let us know what you thought. 

Drink of Choice
Caitlin: Beer!
Monica: Pear Cider, perfect combination.
Instead of our own playlist this time, we found some Disco Polo.  According to Wikipedia: Disco polo is a musical genre native to Poland, which has existed in its present form since the early 1990s. It was derived from contemporary folk tunes, heavily influenced by Russian folk songs and italo disco.

A Recipe to Remember?
Definitely, there are so many different fillings you can use in the pierogi and it can be a rather unique (and tasty) finger food option.

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