Friday, August 13, 2010

You Say Pierogi, I say Piroshki - Daring Cooks Aug. 2010

You say Pierogi and I say Piroshki.... It seems to depend on how you were introduced to these dumplings that are filled with savory or sweetness and either boiled or baked.

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

I really enjoyed learning a little about these delicious buns of goodness, and if you have a personal story about your family and Pierogi or Piroshki, I'd love to hear it.
For me, it's all about my husband's family. His dad and Aunt F. have Russian heritage from their mom.

One of my first holidays spent with my husband's family included watching his aunt and mom on center kitchen stage as they rolled out dough, simmered beef and onions with spices, wrapped up the filling and rolled out the "Pidus'ki" (spelled the way they pronounce it). My father-in-law and my husband can put about 6-8 of these puffy buns away in one sitting.
Since the Daring Cook's Challenge introduced the boiled Pierogi, I made both. Hey, you know me - never just one thing at a time.

First: Here's the Daring Cook's Recipe for Pierogi -

Russian style pierogi (makes 4 generous servings, around 30 dumplings)
(Traditional Polish recipe, although each family will have their own version, this is Anula's family recipe)

2 to 2 1/2 cups (300 to 375 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
About 1 cup (250 ml) lukewarm water

Filling: (I made Spinach and Potatoes with Ricotta Cheese)

3 big potatoes, cooked & mashed (1 1/2 cup instant or leftover mashed potatoes is fine too)
1 cup (225 g) cottage cheese, drained
1 onion, diced & sauteed in butter until clear
3 slices of streaky bacon, diced and fried till crispy (you can add more bacon if you like or omit that part completely if you’re vegetarian)
1 egg yolk (from medium egg)
1 tablespoon (15 g) butter, melted
1/4 (1.25 ml) teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients for the filling (it’s best to use one’s hands to do that) put into the bowl, cover and set aside in the fridge until you have to use it.

2. Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add the salt and a little lukewarm at a time (in my situation 1/2 cup was enough). Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough with a bowl or towel. You’re aiming for soft dough. Let it rest 20 minutes.

3. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (1/8” or about 3 millimeters) cut with a 2-inch (5 cm) round or glass (personally I used 4-inch/10 cm cutter as it makes nice size pierogi - this way I got around 30 of them and 1 full, heaped teaspoon of filling is perfect for that size). Spoon a portion (teaspoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough.

4. Bring a large, low saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop in the pierogi, not too many, only single layer in the pan! Return to the boil and reduce heat. When the pierogi rise to the surface, continue to simmer a few minutes more ( usually about 5 minutes). Remove one dumpling with a slotted spoon and taste if ready. When satisfied, remove remaining pierogi from the water.

5. Serve immediately preferably with creme fraiche or fry. Cold pierogi can be fried. Boiled Russian pierogi can be easily frozen and boiled taken out straight from the freezer.

AND NOW: Piroshki!

I recommend both of these as they are very simple and have tons of options. Although, if you make the Piroshki - at least take a moment and think about how you were given a recipe that has been passed down from several generations of proud and talented Russian cooks.

RECIPE: Piroshki (as told by Aunt F.)
1 pkg. dry yeast

1 1/3 cup milk

2 T. sugar
1/2 c. butter

1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs (beaten)
4 cups flour

Meat Filling:

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef

1 onion chopped very fine

1 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste

Saute onion in a bit of olive oil until soft (I caramelized these)

Remove from pan.

Add ground beef to pan and brown
Drain well and return to pan
Add onion and seasoning (I added a little crushed red pepper) and mix well.

Let cool while making dough


Scald milk, add butter and let cool about 5 minutes.

Add yeast and sugar to milk mixture

Place flour and salt into large mixing bowl.
Add beaten eggs and milk mixture.
Beat vigorously with wooden spoon until smooth.

Cover with oiled wax paper
Let rise until doubled
Once dough has risen, place onto floured surface and let rest 10 minutes

Dough will be very soft.

Working with half of the dough at a time, roll out to a little less than 1/4 inch using enough flour
to keep the dough from sticking to the surface and rolling pin.
Cut into 4 inch squares

Fill each with about 3 T. of meat filling
Bring opposite corners to center of Piroshki and pinch to seal, creating a bundle.
Place bundle with smooth surface as the top (corners are the underside of the piroshki) onto lightly greased cookie sheet.
Let rise until double in size Bake 20 minutes at 375 F.


Ruth H. said...

How awesome that this challenge was so like a family tradition! Your pierogi filling of spinach and potato sounds fabulous! I wonder how it would work with the piroshki dough... hmmm... Might have to try that...! Thank you!

Anna said...

Love your piroshki - have to try them one day :)
Thank you for taking part this month.

Cheers. Anula.

chef_d said...

Pierogi and piroshki they both look yummy! I'm going to borrow your piroshki recipe and make them--I'm having midnight food cravings just looking at them!

Khali//Bandit and the Scene Stealers said...

These were totally delicious! I had a hard time sharing. Guess I'll have to make them for myself now.

Lynne @ CookandBeMerry said...

I love the boiled pierogi, especially the part where you can saute them the next day. It opens up such good ideas, like you could sauce them or make them part of a salad. And being able to freeze them is the best. Thanks for the recipe.

showfoodchef said...

Ruth H.: Thank you for reading and leaving word. I think you're right, the spinach would probably taste great in that dough as well. Let me know if you try it.

Anula: Thank YOU, it was a great time!

CHef D: ALways love it when you stop by, big fan of your blog. I hope you had the chance to try them.

Boots and Cateyes: It's your turn to keep this going, so better learn now, huh?

Lynn:You always have great ideas, your blog is looking wonderful! I love the "freezing for later" part, too! Thanks for leaving word.

showfoodchef said...

Heard from Aunt F. who tried to post a comment, but couldn't get through so I thought I'd put it up here anyway:
Aunt F says -
Wanted to post a comment, but for some reason couldn't do it. What I would have said:

Your piroshki look beautiful. Grandma Zena would be so proud of your results, I know I am.

Anonymous said...

I was so excited to find your recipes! I worked for 22 years at a senior apartment complex and had many Russian tenants. One sweet lady made me these (what I named) mashed potato bombs for me at least twice a month. She spoke no English, I spoke no Russian but she talked to me every day. She tried to explain how they were made and I always meant to ask one of her children if they could translate so I could get the recipe. Mariya has since passed away but now I can make piroshki and remember her kindness to me :-). I really miss her.