Long time no talk eh?.. why, I've been busy, reading, making cuff links, writing blog posts and never finishing them or posting them, you know, the ush... well, actually, a couple days ago I made pierogies, from scratch!
So, a bit of backstory, I emailed my mom asking her for my aunt's recipe... it went pretty much like this:
Can you send me out a good recipe for pierogies (maybe cocia's? (ed: aunt's)). And what kind of sauerkraut and mushrooms she uses? I want to try to make them!
M** P** to
i JUST finished talking w Ciocia,she wants to know when u coming?she will make for u to take .We both agreed that is time consuming plus needs practice,may be one day we will make them all of us together?
Geez, that email makes me feel like the biggest momma's boy loser ever. Maybe one day, Mom??!! I just want to make pierogies!
Also, I love how they both agreed (read: decided) that I should wait for them.... lol!
Just kidding mom, I love you. Actually, re-reading that email, it's kinda sweet, but if you're going to play a new character in this blog you're going to have to roll with the obnoxiousness. Just hold your head high and look where it got Spenny.
Anyway, so I pretty much took this as a personal challenge. I mean, I have this potluck on tuesday and I volunteered to bring some food (I suppose that's what one does for a potluck), and I didn't just want to bring something like a bag of chips and vodka (all the girls are used to that already). So, I narrowed it down to my vegetarian lasagna or ... I pretty much got nothing else. I searched the internet for a bit, and thought, meh, pierogies.
I'm not about to buy pierogies from No Frills. I mean, really? Also, being the only Polish person within 200 kilometers limited my options. So, after getting some huge help from home (I'm kidding! :), I ventured onto this thing called the internet and found this recipe:
Ok, it go good reviews, and looks legit. I'm not about to make potato pierogies. I don't like them and they can go fuck themselves.
I also made a few amendments to the sauerkraut mix. I doubled the onions in the filling and added 1/3 cup diced mushrooms. I ended up making one spicy batch and one garlic batch. The spicy batch actually weren't originally supposed to be spicy... I got a few peppers from Derek and Lisa's garden during a visit down to T.O. and decided to throw a few in... and man were they HOT!.. like, I like spicy food, and yeah, these were hot.
HAHA!.. my first dough roll! Four!... four pierogi! This was not going well. After about 20-30 minutes of preparing the dough, I got an output of four dough holes. ok. hmmm... what you want to do, those doing this for the first time, is try to get the dough thinner.
These were keepers. Things I could feed to other people and not feel bad about. That above is 25 pierogi. I figured I needed to get to 75 to make a decent potluck meal... time to double my efforts. It's cool though.. the first two batches only took 5 hours.
I wanted to get that caustic, stingy taste off them, and as recommended by the web, thoroughly soaking and rinsing a few times does the trick.
Also, on a side note, you'll be happy to know that the Brazilian nut effect also applies to sauerkraut in a liquid. As usual, Sixty Symbols also has a great video about this, err, not specific to sauerkraut however.
So, in the end, 82 sauerkraut pierogy, 25 of which are extra spicy, plus 26 blueberry and banana pierogi. I'm probably being biased here, but these things are unbelievable. Like, close to the best I've ever had. The sour cream in the dough really made them creamy, very unlike most I've had, and the carmelized onions inside just make the taste jump out. They're great on their own without toppings. Probably not that good for you (I may have added a bit of extra butter), but so delicious. I'll try to save a few for my next weekend visitors. Also, the blueberry banana pierogi are a bit sweet, but out of this world. Like, such an expected but pleasant flavour combination.
preamble: Obviously the hard part isn't the filling... it's so easy and so delicious. Just chop everything up real fine, pre-caramelize/crisp the onions, soak and rinse your sauerkraut, cook everything (mushrooms too) in a bit of butter for 15-20 minutes, and you're flying. No, the hard part is of course dealing with the dough. Fear the kneading.
1. Sticky dough? I wish someone told me to use a ton of flour. When kneading it, when rolling it, and especially when forming the pierogi. It really blows when you have shaped a great one only to find that you can't lift it off the counter. Don't use so much as to alter the recipe significantly (so the internet says), but be prepared and willing to coat all surfaces with flour.
2. Dough not spreading right for you? Stick it back in the fridge/freezer for a bit.
3. Make sure your perogies are closed before putting them into the boiling water! Waterlogged pierogies taste like garbage. To close them properly, moisten your fingers before you fold the delicious morcel, and pay special attention to where the flaps join! Yeah, that's right.
4. It is extremely time consuming. It took a good 7-8 hours for 100+ pierogies. This is obviously due to a first time thing, and a general lack of experience working with dough. My second, third and four batches already started to show improvement.
5. Don't eat the nice ones... they'll be plenty of deformed, drowned children for you to eat.
Also, as a bonus, here are two pictures from TEDxQueensU over the weekend. Sara, Jowi and Peter came up on Sunday to present...
Afterward we all went out with a bunch of friends to Curry Original, which, if you find yourself in Kingston for some 'reason', although nice, it is not as good Indian as Cafe India, which incidently is owned and run by Mitali's brother... ahhh, small world indeed.
Anyway, then I come back to this.
1 year ago