Monday, February 20, 2006

Happiness is a Warm Pierogi

I recently volunteered to provide the munchies for the upcoming annual Oscar Party at a friends' place. More on the party in a future post. One of the dishes that I plan to make is Sweet Potato, Rosemary & Cheese Pierogi, adapted from a recipe from Je Mange La Ville. I have included the recipe below.

Due to the fact that I have never actually made pierogi before, let alone completely from scratch, I decided that I should attempt the recipe at least once before serving them to my friends. I really had no idea what I was in for.

First of all, I needed to buy some equipment, namely a rolling pin. So, off to Zeller's to peruse their not-too-expensive kitchen stuff. Now, I fully intended to buy only a rolling pin, but since I was there, I ended up buying a new colander, a pastry blender (which ended up helping immensely), a spiffy new 8" chef knife and a McFarlane figurine of Grant Fuhr in the 1987 Team Canada uniform. Hee hee.

But I digress. Here's the recipe.

Sweet Potato, Rosemary & Cheese Pierogi
This recipe makes about 50 peirogi

Pierogi Filling

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 C (measure generously) ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 C fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1 small shallot, diced fine
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp of fresh rosemary (or 1/4 tsp dried rosemary)
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • salt & pepper

  • Add cubed sweet potato to a pot of hot water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, about 10-15 minutes. While the potato is cooking, combine all other ingredients in a large bowl. When the potato is cooked, drain and return to the hot pot and stir a little over medium heat to dry out a bit. Add potato to cheese mixture, and mash to combine. Add salt & pepper to taste. Set aside until needed to fill pierogi.

    *NOTE* The original recipe called for feta cheese instead of ricotta cheese. Normally, I attempt recipes for the first time exactly as written, but in this case I had to make the substitution, as I absolutely despise feta cheese. I affectionately refer to it as "Satan's toejam". But enough about that, on to the....

    Pierogi Dough
  • 2 1/4 C All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 C Light sour cream
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp salt

  • Place flour in large bowl. Add salt. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, the melted butter, the oil and the eggs. Mix all wet ingredients together, then add to dry ingredients. Combine using a (brand-new spiffy) pastry blender. Turn out dough onto a floured surface, and knead for 5 minutes until it's soft and pliable.
    Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes.

    Roll dough out on a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. I used a 2-inch circular pastry cutter to cut the dough into circles, but a large drinking glass will work just as well. After cutting out the first batch of circles, re-roll and cut more circles from the scraps. You should be able to get 50 circles.

    Place one rounded teaspoon, or thereabouts, on each dough circle. Moisten the edges with water, and fold over to make a half-moon shape. Crimp with a fork to seal the edges.

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and boil pierogies in batches for about ten minutes, or until the pierogies float to the top. I found it was a good idea to stir every couple of minutes to make sure nothing was stuck to the bottom.

    Since the pot I was using could only handle about 12 pierogies at a time, and assembling them was time-consuming, I put one batch in the water while assembling the next batch.

    When the pierogies are ready remove from the water, and drain in a (darn spiffy-looking, brand new) colander.

    At this point, some would call them done. I tried one at this stage, and they were certianly tasty, but there was a certain je ne sais quoi that was missing. Of course - more grease!

    I finished these in a frying pan with a little oil and some nice pancetta. They crisp up really quickly, so turn often to make sure they haven't burned. Serve with sour cream.

    I took them over to my friend Joe's place so we could both "test" them to see if they met our high standards. They disappeared in record time. The mixture of the sweet potato with the two cheeses was really nice, and the lemon zest really cut through and added an extra hit of flavour.

    I really enjoyed making these, but they're not something that I would make on a regular basis as they're time-consuming and SO MESSY. I've made messes before while cooking, but as soon as you add flour to the equation it adds a whole new dimension of mayhem. Because, as everyone knows, as soon as any moisture is added to flour, that's right, you get paste. It was everywhere. The next time I make these, I'm going to quadruple the recipe, make a couple of hundred, and put the extras in the freezer. It never hurts to have a huge pile of incredibly tasty pierogies on hand, should unexpected company arrive, or if you just don't feel like cooking.

    1 comment:

    michelle said...

    Hey, glad these worked out for you! Yep, more grease is always good! :)