Friday, May 4, 2007

Mushroom Pierogi

Even though one could argue that my last attempt at making dough ended in miserable failure, I decided to try making something a little simpler and build from there. The boy is Slavic by descent, and had introduced me to the wonderful world of pierogi awhile ago, and when I saw the recipe on Smitten Kitchen....well, it looked doable. And Boy was touched that I was "indulging [his] honkiness."

So...yeah. It actually did go well, even if I felt like something of a nitwit when I realized (after already making the dough), that we do not own a rolling pin. I improvised with a bottle of $5 wine, alternating between that and beating the dough into submission with my fists (cathartic).

In the end, the dough turned out a bit thicker than I would have liked (surprise), and I made the pieces a bit too small for the stuffing-to-dough ratio I was going for, but they worked! Not a single one broke in the pot (probably at least in part because the dough was thick), and the filling was actually quite tasty. So yay! Not restaurant quality, but a valiant first effort, in my humble opinion.

Small changes to the recipe: I used shittake and cremini mushrooms instead of porcini and cremini, and 4 garlic cloves instead of 3 (which surprises all of no one).

Recipe is below. Enjoy!

Wild Mushroom Pirogies
Gourmet, February 2001

For filling
1 cup boiling water
2/3 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 medium onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 oz cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For onion topping
1 lb onions, chopped
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

Accompaniment: sour cream

Special equipment: a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter

Make filling: Pour boiling water over porcini in a small bowl and soak until softened,10 to 20 minutes. Lift porcini out of water, squeezing excess liquid back into bowl, and rinse well to remove any grit. Pour soaking liquid through a paper-towel-lined sieve into a bowl and reserve.

Finely chop onion and garlic in a food processor, then add cremini and porcini and pulse until very finely chopped.

Heat butter in a skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook mushroom mixture, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are dry and 1 shade darker, about 8 minutes. Add reserved soaking liquid and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick, dry, and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes (there will be about 1 cup filling). Stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Cool completely.

Roll out dough and fill pierogies: Halve dough and roll out 1 piece on a lightly floured surface into a 15-inch round, keeping remaining dough wrapped. Cut out rounds (about 24) with floured cutter. Put 1 teaspoon filling in center of each round. Working with 1 round at a time, moisten edges with water and fold in half to form a half-moon, pinching edges together to seal. Transfer pierogies as assembled to a flour-dusted kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining rounds, then make more pierogies with remaining dough and filling.

Cook onions and pierogies: Cook onions in butter in a large heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Cook pierogies in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to skillet with onions. Toss gently to coat and serve immediately.

Epicurious’ notes:

  • Filling can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.
  • Filled pierogies can be frozen 1 month. Freeze on a tray until firm, about 2 hours, then freeze in sealable plastic bags. Thaw before cooking.

Makes 6 (main course) servings.

Pierogi and Vareniki Dough

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.

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

Makes enough for about 48 pierogies or 32 varenikis.

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