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Daring Cooks' challenge July: Fusion pierogi

>> Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pierogi 3

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...

Pierogi 2

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.

Fusion pierogi
Yields around 35 dumplings, 8 cm round

Dough (traditional polish recipe):

  • 300g pasta flour (the recipe calls for all-purpose flour)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 125ml water (1/2 cup)
  1. Mix the egg, water and salt in a food processor. Add the flour and mix. Roll it a couple of times on the countertop with a rolling pin. Wrap in plastic foil and leave to rest 20 minutes.
  2. Take a portion and roll it to a maximum thickness of 3mm. Using a glass or a cookie cutter of 8cm diameter (the recipe calls for 5cm rounds) cut dough in rounds and fill them with a heaped teaspoon of the filling of your choice. This video of an Ucranian granny teaching to make the dumplings is just adorable. Set the dumplings aside on a lightly floured surface. The dough only slightly adheres to the surface, but it's sticky enough to seal the edges without moistening them.
Pierogi 1

  • 150g dried chestnuts
  • 1/2 cup sweet Sherry wine
  • 1 cup homemade beef stock
  • 5 large slices of Ibérico ham
  • 1 dash of cream
  1. Put the chestnuts in water to soak overnight. The next day, bring them to a boil with the stock and the Sherry. Add some water if necessary to cover the chestnuts. Boil 3/4 hour, until cooked through.
  2. Drain the liquid but don't discard it, then mash the chestnuts. Add a dash of cream to soften the puree and some spoonfuls of the boiling liquid if it's too dry.
  3. Finely cut the ham and fry it in a pan, slowly heating it till it starts releasing its own fat. When crispy, add it to the chestnut puree along with the fat. Mix well and add salt if necessary.
Finishing the pierogi:
  1. Bring salted water to a boil and add the pierogi. When the pierogi float to the surface, se count 5-8 minutes, depending on how much al dente you like them (the original recipe calls for a shorter boiling time, but my dumplings where too hard with only 3 minutes boiling, I guess it depends on the type of flour).
  2. For not to affect the delicate flavor of the chestnuts, I decided to serve the dumplings with a simple sage butter. But I believe that a mushroom sauce would be a wonderful pairing too.
  3. If you have pierogi or filling leftovers, just freeze them and wait till the cold arrives... I'm sure I will feel more like eating them than in this heat, don't you agree? These Eastern dishes and the chestnut filling make me long for the fall or the winter...

Pierogi 4

17 comentarios:

MaryMoh August 17, 2010 at 7:08 AM  

Love these dumplings. They look like Chinese dumplings. I love that you added walnuts to the filling.

J e l e n a August 17, 2010 at 7:36 AM  

yesterday I was making my blogroll and was wondering where our winter guest is! And here she is whit a wonderful plate. I saw the challenge and saw many misses on the blogs but this one look fantastic. I love how similar food are eaten world over and every country and region have their authentic stamp on it all intertwines...

Valerie Harrison (bellini) August 17, 2010 at 11:20 AM  

The Iberico ham would put a truly Spanish twist on these tasty little dumplings!

Tasty Eats At Home August 17, 2010 at 4:26 PM  

Didn't you just love this challenge? I thought these were great fun - and something I'd embrace when winter comes!

Asha @ FSK August 17, 2010 at 4:30 PM  

ah! I was waiting for your post since I saw your teaser in the forum.. I love the filling!! so different from everything I have seen...

Sarah August 17, 2010 at 6:38 PM  

Love your filling with the chestnuts. I bet they are delicious.

G. August 19, 2010 at 7:29 PM  

wow! your peirogi look just perfect and i love the chestnut filling.

Julia @Mélanger August 19, 2010 at 10:54 PM  

Wow, I've not had pierogi for about 7 years. These look fantastic. May have to give them a go!

Marisa August 20, 2010 at 5:17 PM  

Love your fusion filling! Looks very tasty.

vincent August 20, 2010 at 10:25 PM  


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Magic of Spice August 21, 2010 at 9:35 AM  

These are fantastic dumplings, the filling is unique from dumplings I am familiar with. Very nice :)

Tasty Trix August 22, 2010 at 3:59 PM  

Oh my. My mouth is just watering looking a these, I am serious. And since I have made the decision to add meat back into my diet for special occasions and work .. well, ahem! these would count as a special occasion, yes? Yes!

tasteofbeirut August 23, 2010 at 10:21 PM  

These are made so elegant with your chestnut and ham stuffing! Plus the photo is so beautiful!

Jessica August 25, 2010 at 5:08 AM  

These sound delicious!

Anonymous August 27, 2010 at 11:28 AM  

Oh! They are simply amazing! Whenever I go back to Poland I eat as much of those as I am too lazy to make them by myself unfortunately. I love the traditional ones with sour cabbage and wild mushrooms - it's my childhood taste :) And of course they have to appear on Christmas table every year. In the summer, I always just HAVE to eat pierogi stuffed either with strawberries or blueberries with a huuuge dollop of sweat cream on top. Your pierogi look really delicious and really interesting combination of flavours too! Your post have just reminded me that actually last year I have bought a whole cooking book about pierogi only, and still didn't force myself to do any of the recipies :( I really admire your post :)

Miriam September 1, 2010 at 10:05 AM  

MaryMoh: thanks!
Jelena: you're right...
Val: Iberico goes well with almost anything ;)
TEaH: I loved it, that's why I didn't want to miss it in spite of my vacation.
Asha: thanks!
AOFP: thanks!
G: thank you!
Julia: they're really tasty.
Marisa: thanks!
Vincent: done!
MoS: thanks!
Trix: a tiny bit of Iberico goes a long way...
ToB: thanks!
Jessica: thanks!
NOP: it's great to get a nod from a real connoisseur! Haha.

Karolina September 1, 2010 at 10:02 PM  


I have to admit these look very professional especially for somebody who is not familiar with pierogi - myself most of my Polish friends are, as this is something very essential in Polish cuisine. :) Your filling sounds delicous, but it seems to be a bit too posh, not for my taste, but for the idea of using a meat leftovers to make pierogi. :) But I would love to try it! My favuirite ones are ruskie - with mashed curd cheese and potatoes.

Warm regards from North Yorkshire!


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