Homemade Pierogi

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Many cultures have their own version of a dumpling or ravioli-  a food in which a filling (often meaty or cheesy) is wrapped by some kind of pasta or dough.  And in every culture, I tend to love it.

My friends, meet the pierogi, Poland’s version of this wonderful food.  For the past several years, I have begun a family tradition of having pierogi for the New Year’s along with some other traditional Polish food fare.  Thank goodness for holidays and an excuse to eat more than normal.

Pierogi are a little work intensive since you are making your own dough and filling, but if you love to cook, they are fun to make!  You can also assemble the little dumplings the night before to bake off the next day. Common fillings are potatoes & cheese, meat, cabbage, and sauerkraut, but the sky is the limit if you are feeling creative.

If you are planning a New Year’s party or gathering, I highly recommend you consider including some pierogi.

PIEROGI
Adapted from Aunt Helen

INGREDIENTS

For the Meat Filling:
1 pound ground meet (beef or pork)
1 onions, minced
1 tablespoons margarine/shortening
1 slices stale white bread
Milk or water
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

For the Mushroom & Sauerkraut Filling:
1 onion, minced
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces dried wild mushrooms (optional, can just use more normal mushrooms)
16-24 ounces mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper
1 – 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained

For the Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water

Butter, for pan frying

DIRECTIONS

For the Meat Filling:

Brown ground meat. Drain grease and remove. Dry off grease with paper towel. Stir fry onion in butter in a heavy skillet 5 minutes. Add ground meat. Remove from heat.

Soak bread in just enough milk to cover. When thoroughly soaked, about 10 minutes, squeeze out excess milk. Stir bread, salt, and pepper into onion mixture until well combined.

For the Mushroom & Sauerkraut Filling:

Soak dried mushrooms in warm water for at least 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook onion & 1 tablespoon butter until until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add mushrooms and remaining butter, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are tender, about 6-9 minutes. Stir in sauerkraut and adjust seasoning to taste.

For the Dough:

Mound flour on a bread board and make a well in the center. Drop eggs and salt into well. Add water; working from the center to outside of flour mound, mix flour into liquid in center with one hand and keep flour mounded with other hand. Knead until dough is firm and well mixed.

Cover dough with a warm bowl; let rest 10 minutes. Divide dough into halves. On floured surface, using half of dough at a time, roll dough as thin as possible. Cut out 3-inch rounds with large biscuit cutter.

Place a small spoonful of filling a little to one side on each round of dough. Moisten edge with water, fold over and press edges together firmly. Be sure they are well sealed.

Fill a large saucepan with water.  Bring to a boil.  Drop Pierogi into boiling salted water. Cook gently 3 to 5 minutes, or until pierogi float. Lift out of water with perforated spoon.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add butter to coat pan.  Fry pierogis in batches, about 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown.  Serve warm with sour cream, cabbage, or applesauce.

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