>> Tuesday, August 17, 2010
If today's 17th August, I'm in Denmark. But I didn't want to miss this month's challenge. We've been carried to Eastern Europe, to Poland, to make pierogi. At Wikipedia we are told that pierogi are baked or boiled dumplings, in crescent shape, that most commonly are filled with sauerkraut, cheese, mashed potatoes, cabbage, onion, meat, hard boiled eggs, or a combination of any of those. They are made with fruit fillings too. They are served with generous amounts of sour cream and with a bacon or fried onion garnish. The most popular are the pierogi ruskie, filled with cheese, mashed potatoes and onion. Pierogi filled with meat are called pelmeni and originate from Siberia; they are widely popular all over Rusia, as well as in some of the ex-socialist countries. We were given permission to use a filling that reflected our local diet, therefore I chose a succulent chesnuts filling with Ibérico ham. That's why I called them fusion pierogi...
I loved the idea of making these pierogi related to the Siberian pelmeni. I have a fond memory of the first time I tasted pelmeni. It was 15 years ago that D. was participating in a project with some British colleagues. Among them was Claire, a charming linguist that was married to a Russian guy from Vladivostok. At a certain moment D. needed to go to London for some project meeting and I joined him. One evening Claire invited the whole bunch for dinner to her place. Her parents-in-law, Siberian russians, happened to be visiting and they had brought along several tons of pelmeni. Of course the pelmeni were part of the dinner and I remember Claire begging us, encouraging us to help her get rid of their pelmeni surplus... That wasn't difficult, as they were quite delicious, boiled in a clear broth, that evening of an oddly warm January in Britain...
I've found pierogi very easy to make. The dough is similar to that of Italian pasta, but because not all the liquid is egg, the consistency is different. It's not so smooth and satiny, but somewhat easier to handle.
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.
Yields around 35 dumplings, 8 cm round
Dough (traditional polish recipe):
Finishing the pierogi: