Thursday, April 14, 2011

Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Pierogies, With Potato and Onion Filling

The instructions may seem long,
but pierogies are fairly easy to make.
Sometimes I cook a category of food unintentionally. This past month we’ve had a lot of “pockets,” starting with hamantashen (chocolate and peach jam fillings), progressing to pot stickers (beef and vegetarian), and, most recently, pierogies.

Family ties to Poland notwithstanding, I make no claims of authenticity when it comes to pierogies. But these were fun to make -- I had not only a cooperative dough, but also a cooperative teenage helper. The pierogies got high praise from Kit, who would eat a standard box of pierogies by herself in one sitting if we would let her.

Pierogies strike me as a good pre-Marathon food: Plenty of carbs in potato-filled pasta.

Pierogies, With Potato and Onion Filling
(Adapted, slightly, from Post Punk Kitchen. Makes 24 to 30 pierogies.)

For the Filling
1.5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut in 3/4-inch dice
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

For the Dough
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup warm water
About 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided use, plus extra for sprinkling
3/4 tsp salt

Make the filling: Place the diced potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook the potatoes for about 15 minutes or until soft. Drain the potatoes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large sauté pan, and cook the onions for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Combine the onions, drained potatoes, salt, and pepper, and mash together. Set the filling aside to cool. (You can make the filling ahead of time and refrigerate.)

Make the dough: Have on hand a large baking sheet, lined with parchment paper and lightly floured.

Pour the oil and water into a large bowl. Add 2 cups of flour and the salt. Use a fork to stir the flour into the liquid. As it comes together, use your hands to knead the mixture, forming a loose dough. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and turn the dough out of the bowl. Knead the dough, working in the remaining cup of flour a little at a time. (Depending on conditions in your kitchen, you may need a little more or less flour.) Continue kneading the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Divide the dough in half. Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out one half of the dough to about 1/16-inch thick. Cut circles of dough, 3.5 to 4 inches in diameter. Place the circles on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate them as you roll and cut the remaining half of the dough. Reroll and cut any dough scraps.

Complete the pierogies: Fill each round with about 1 tablespoon of the potato-onion mixture, dab water around the edges of the dough, and fold into a half-moon shape. Crimp the edges with a fork. Place filled pierogies on the floured baking sheet until you are ready to cook.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently lower six pierogies into the water (a large slotted spoon or skimmer is good for this) and cook them for about 4 minutes; they should float when they are done. Remove cooked pierogies to a plate and cover them with foil to stay warm as you boil the remaining batches.

You can further cook boiled pierogies by frying them, but I never got a chance to try that -- Kit got to the leftovers first.

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