The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.
This month's challenge sounded fun and fairly easy as I've made asian dumplings (pot stickers) and empanadas many times before. There are of course some differences between the dough stuffed foods, such as the ingredients that go into the dough are similar but yet not the same as well as of course the fillings!
2 to 2 1/2 cups (300 to 375 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
About 1 cup (250 ml) lukewarm water
1. Combine all the ingredients for the filling (it’s best to use one’s hands to do that) put into the bowl, cover and set aside in the fridge until you have to use it.
2. Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add the salt and a little lukewarm at a time (in my situation 1/2 cup was enough). Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough with a bowl or towel. You’re aiming for soft dough. Let it rest 20 minutes.
3. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (1/8” or about 3 millimeters) cut with a 2-inch (5 cm) round or glass (personally I used 4-inch/10 cm cutter as it makes nice size pierogi - this way I got around 30 of them and 1 full, heaped teaspoon of filling is perfect for that size). Spoon a portion (teaspoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough.
4. Bring a large, low saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop in the pierogi, not too many, only single layer in the pan! Return to the boil and reduce heat. When the pierogi rise to the surface, continue to simmer a few minutes more ( usually about 5 minutes). Remove one dumpling with a slotted spoon and taste if ready. When satisfied, remove remaining pierogi from the water.
5. Serve immediately preferably with creme fraiche or fry. Cold pierogi can be fried. Boiled Russian pierogi can be easily frozen and boiled taken out straight from the freezer.
The recipes above are straight from The Daring Kitchen post for this month's challenge. If you would like to check out what the others have done and the recipes please go to The Daring Kitchen website!
As for the filling, I didn't want to do (nor did I have all the ingredients for) the same recipes we were given. I instead made my own filling :D.
Pierogi Filling and Topping
- 1 eggplant, cut into cubes
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons feta, crumbled
- 2 sprigs of thyme, stem removed
- olive oil
- 2 cups chopped spinach (fresh or frozen
- 1 1/2 potatoes, boiled and mashed
- 2 cups 0% plain yogurt
- A couple pinches of salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 375F and place the eggplant, tomatoes and feta into a casserole dish and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and drizzle olive oil on top. Allow to roast in the oven until the skin on the eggplant is easily removed and the meat of it is soft, about 30 - 45 minutes depending on how big the cubes are. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Remove the tomatoes from the dish and place in a separate bowl and set aside for later. Peel the skin off the roasted eggplant and toss (you can keep this on if you'd like). Mash the eggplant with the back of a fork and add in the mashed potato, spinach, 1 cup of the yogurt and mix well. Set aside and use to fill the dough, about a teaspoon for each pierogi is plenty.
Take the last cup of yogurt and in a bowl add in a pinch of salt and pepper, beat with a fork to make it smooth. Spoon some on top of your finished pierogi and top with the roasted grape tomatoes!
These were delicious! I loved the healthy filling that didn't need much salt thanks to the creamy, salty feta and the tangy yogurt with the sweet roasted tomatoes brought it all together and made a fantastic dish.