Polish food, ftw!

by kellybakes in

A month or two ago, I was overwhelmed by the urge to cook dishes from my heritage. I made a childhood favorite: Hungarian paprikash as well as (Italian) potato gnocchi. Shortly after making both for the first time, I wanted to try something a bit more daring: pierogies. My mom's side of the family is half Polish and half Italian, so at Christmas and Easter, we always had pierogies. For years, we'd buy them from the grocery store or from a local Polish deli; they seemed like too much work to attempt.

If you've been following my blog, you might know that lately I've been trying to conquer my baking fears. This includes cheesecake and pie crust, among other things (more on the pie crust later). Dough isn't really my specialty, so the thought of pierogi-making made me super nervous. I've tried my hand at pasta making several times since getting my pasta roller at age 12, but I can't help but fail at even the simplest spaghetti.
Luckily for me, heritage was on my side. I followed the recipe with much trepidation and let my dough rest for a half hour. When I returned to roll it out, I found that it had become elastic and really forgiving.
I made two kinds of fillings--potato & cheese and sauerkraut. The former was a russet potato boiled til tender, combined with sour cream, cheddar cheese, a pinch of salt and white pepper to taste. The latter was a jar of sauerkraut with freshly cracked blacked pepper. Both were really simple to make and pretty tasty.
I didn't have a large cutter, so they came out on the small side. Next time, I'll make them bigger so it's easier to get a taste for the filling.
I boiled and then fried them, but I made so many that I had to do them in batches and put the finished ones in the oven to keep them warm. Warming them made them soft instead of crispy. (Something to note for next time).
Served with kielbasa from the farmer's market, sauerkraut and curried cabbage (not a Polish dish, but still delicious!)
Here's the recipe for the pierogi dough from epicurious.com
Pierogi and Vareniki Dough
Gourmet | February 2001
Yield: Makes enough for about 48 pierogies or 32 varenikis
Active Time: 20 min
Total Time: 50 min

1 cup all-purpose flour plus additional for kneading and rolling
3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Stir together flours in a bowl. Make a well in flour and add eggs, salt, and water, then stir together with a fork without touching flour. Continue stirring, gradually incorporating flour into well until a soft dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead, adding only as much additional flour as needed to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. (Dough will be soft.) Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature at least 30 minutes.

Cooks' note:
·Dough may be made 2 hours ahead, wrapped well in plastic wrap and chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.