> Lemon and Strawberries: Pierogi with cottage cheese & potato filling (Polish dumplings)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Pierogi with cottage cheese & potato filling (Polish dumplings)

If you'd ask anyone in Poland about the typical Polish food, most likely their answer would be "pierogi ruskie". This is a classic Polish recipe - the name translates to "Russian dumplings", but it has nothing to do with Russia. It comes from the area of Red Ruthenia, called in Polish "Ruś Czerwona". It's a historical term describing territory of southeastern Poland and western Ukraine.
In Poland we make many types of pierogi - with meat, mushrooms, sauerkraut, fruits etc., but these have a special place in my heart - my grandma was making them, my mom did and now me.

INGREDIENTS (for about 40 pieces):
  • 300-350g flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 - 1 glass warm water
  • 1tsp salt
  • 400g cottage cheese (in Greece I found that anthotiro is the closest in taste and consistency to the one I'm used to)
  • 3-4 boiled potatoes
  • 1 big onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbs olive for frying 
  • 200ml sour cream or greek yoghurt 
  • 1 finely chopped and fried onion
Pour the flour into a bowl, add salt and egg. Mix it with your hand a little and add 1/2 glass of water. Knead the dough, either by hand or using a mixer with a dough hook until all the ingredients are combined. The dough is ready, when it's flexible, smooth and doesn't stick to your fingers. If it's too sticky - add some more flour, if it's too hard - add more water. Cover your dough with a cloth to prevent from drying and set aside.

Prepare the filling: preheat olive oil on a pan. Add finely chopped onion and fry until it becomes slightly gold and transparent. Take off the heat and let it cool down. Meanwhile, mash potatoes and cottage cheese using a fork or potato masher and put them in a big bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste (I like it slightly on a spicy side, so I add about 2-3tsp of pepper).
Add the onion and combine well with your hands.

Set a big pot of water with some salt to boil and prepare another one with cold water. Now it's time to make pierogi!
Sprinkle a little bit of flour on a table or any flat surface, take some of the dough and roll it with a rolling pin (or a glass bottle if you don't have it) to about 2mm thickness.
Start cutting circles - I'm using a glass, but you can use a round cookie cutter. Size of the circles will determine how big your pierogi will be.

The dough has a tendency to drying, so usually I cut about 6-7 circles, fill them up and then make another portion.
Forming: place a circle of dough on your palm, put 1-2 tsp of filling in the middle, stick the edges together starting from a central part and then close them on the sides. Make sure to close them completely and let no air inside, because they will open during cooking otherwise. Add the final touch by twisting and folding the edge. Here's my video on how to do it:

When the water is boiling, throw pierogi into it - one by one and not all of them. Depending on the size of your pot, one portion should be 5-10 pierogi at the time. Stir to make sure they didn't stick to each other or bottom of your pot, cook until they come to the surface and then 1-2 min more (about 5-7 min total). Take pierogi out using a slotted spoon and put into a pot with cold water for a minute. Then take them out and put on a plate. If you're planning to serve all of the pierogi in a big dish, sprinkle them with a little bit of oil to make sure they won't stick to each other.

Serve while hot, sprinkled with fried onion and some sour cream or yoghurt on the side. Pierogi also taste amazing reheated on a pan - simply fry them until golden-brown and you'll get delicious combination of crunchy crust on the outside and smooth filling inside!

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