Saturday, August 14, 2010

Daring Cooks explore the world of pierogi!

This month's challenge was to make pierogi dough and fillings from scratch, using local ingredients when possible. I made 2 savoury varieties and  1 sweet one, though I didn't get any pictures of the sweet one. All in all, I made 72 pierogies, and it took a long time, rolling and cutting, filling and sealing each one by hand. I would much rather fuss over something sweet, though these were delicious.
This picture shows the rolled out dough with its filling of mashed potatoes, cheese curds, sauteed onion, butter, salt and pepper. You can see the cheese curds in the bottom left corner of the first picture. They are bits of fresh cheddar, before pressing, and are fresh, mild, salty and squeaky. When I was a child, they were the ubiquitous road trip snack, and it is all too easy to eat about a pound of them. Look out for them if you have a cheese factory in your area. I garnished the boiled pierogies with lardons of my uncle's smoked bacon and more sauteed onions. The dough I chose, from the Gourmet cookbook (the yellow one), was easy to work with, but the pierogies needed to be boiled for 15 minutes and they were still a bit chewy. 
This is the second savoury filling: ground pork sauteed with onions and mixed with an equal amount of fresh sauerkraut, seasoned with fresh thyme and pepper. There is a local store that makes wonderful barrel sauerkraut, which is so much better than the stuff from a can or jar. After boiling, I turned these in a pan with browned butter and fresh dill.
As a reward for making 71 of these, I made myself a treat: one large pierogi filled with German plum butter (from a can, found at the sauerkraut store) and cardamom. I love plums and cardamom together. After boiling I fried it with some butter and sugar and ate it with a big blob of mascarpone on top. Can you understand why I didn't get any pictures? Here's a gratuitous flower picture from the backyard instead.
This was a fun challenge, and while I have eaten many pierogies, I had only made them once before. It was a lot of work, but these were so much better than the ones you can buy frozen at the supermarket. Head over to The Daring Kitchen to check out the slideshow of all the other takes on this challenge. 
Oh, and even though I don't love potatoes, they were my favourite, well, after the cardamom-plum one. Maybe wrapping them in dough is the trick. After making the pierogies, I made a kind of shepherd's pie with the leftover fillings. It was delicious!
Blog-checking lines:
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.

PDF of challenge and recipes after the jump!
Challenge PDF
Pierogi dough, from Gourmet Cookbook via Epicurious


28 comments:

RamblingTart said...

Oh Mary, you made my day with these fabulous perogies!! :-) You did a fantastic job! Perogies are absolute comfort food for me, and have such happy memories of a childhood spent in Canada. :-)

Eva said...

Those look delicious! In Welland, ON, the the town wehre I'm from, these little old Polish ladies get together at a Polish church every Friday and make perogies. And cabbage rolls. They are amazing and those look just like them, so I'm imagining what they taste like too.... mmmmm... Great job!

Laurie @simplyscratch said...

I love perogies, and only if they are homemade! Yours look perfect!! Great job!

shelley c. said...

Wow - you made a WHOLE LOT of pierogi, but with how absolutely delicious they look, I can imagine that you won't ever get tired of them. Both of your savory pierogi look fantastic, and I am sure the large plum one looked (and tasted) just as awesome! Awesome job on the challenge!

Anne-Marie (10 Rooms) said...

ahh, you are a girl after my own heart, Mary...

Ruth H. said...

Your pierogi look amazing! I hope youfeel that they were worth the effort! I am very glad that you treated yourself after all of your hard work!

teafactory said...

these look so delcious, they're making me hungry!

Wolf said...

Love fresh cheese urds! Squeaky cheese, we call it!

Great job and wonderful photos! They look yummy!

Yeah, they do take a long time to maker, especially in large quantities, but, for a quick meal straight from the freezer, oh so worth it.}:P

chef_d said...

Your pierogis look so delicious! I was drooling while I was reading...bacon, cheesecurd, sauerkraut...yummy!!

blepharisma said...

Your pierogi look fantastic!! I keep being tempted by sauerkraut ones... I wish I could find some fresh sauerkraut around here, though! So far I've only seen the stuff in the jar or can.

Cook of the House said...

You perogies look great. In Newfoundland, we had something called scrunchons. Little bits of fried pork fat. I wonder if your uncle's lardons would be similar to those. So bad, but so good.

pigpigscorner said...

So pretty! but 15 mins??

Mary said...

Yes, 15 minutes! It seemed very strange to me too, but they really weren't done any earlier than that. I'll use different dough if I do this again.

Jennifurla said...

Oh dear, these dont even look to hard to maek - yum

tariqata said...

Those look both beautiful and delicious - and using cheese curds for your potato filling is an ingenious idea!

The plum butter pierogi must have been fantastic, too. And inspiring - I've got some ginger-spiked peach butter hanging out in my fridge, along with a bit of leftover pierogi dough...

Valerie said...

Beautiful perogies, Mary! They look so good that I'm tempted to make some myself. :D

Lisa said...

Mary, although giveaways are fun..I always wish I could send one to everyone! I really feel bad I cant..seriously!!!

That said, I love both your savory pierogis, but the cheese curds so intrigue me. I've been dying to try them for what seems like forever. Great representation and beautiful pierogi. OH, the plum butter one IS a great, aka mouth watering, reward for all those pierogi!!

Anula said...

Glad you liked the result of this month's challenge. You did a great job - both with the dough and fillings.
Thank you for taking part this month!

Cheers. Anula.

Margie said...

Mmmm, your pierogi look fabulous... almost as good as those bacon lardons:) Great photos! Especially that lovely plum dessert pierogi flower!

Suzler said...

Om, I'm not surprised that there was no time for photos of the plum pierogi. That sounds heavenly. It's a lovely flower too. :)

I love how cute and perfectly-shaped your pierogi are and you have a lovely array of fillings. The pork and sauerkraut one is calling to me!

Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz said...

How ambitious of you, 72 in all. The ones shown look amazing. And no I do not accept the flower instead of the dessert one, I want to see it, how big? ;-)

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

Your pierogi look terrific. I love the sound of those pork and sauerkraut ones - we'll be right over for dinner and we'll be saving room for plum and cardamom too!

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bitsnbites said...

Thanks for dropping by, Mary. Glad you enjoyed the challenge. Love the idea of a shepherd's pie filling. Good job!

cuppy said...

Beautiful pictures!

I've never had plums and cardamom together; that sounds great! <3 cardamom

Oni (This Little Green Book) said...

Thanks for the comment on my first challenge, i must say your giant plum jam pierogi sounds delicious to me too! Your blog is lovely, i've signed up to follow your future posts and look forward to lots of mouthwatering recipes!

erushi said...

Your pierogi look both adorable and amazing, and I love the flavours you used. A wonderful job!

And thank you for visiting my entry!

Amateur Cook said...

Yes I concur with bitsnbites there.
You made two absolutely delicious recipes there, out of one filling.
Both comfort foods too!