Sunday, October 2, 2011

Potato and Cheese Pierogi

Bring on the Polski. Great for an all day project.
Prep time: 1.5 hours         |         Total time: 2 hours         |         Yield: ~3 dozen dumplings

· 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 
· 3 large eggs · 2 tablespoons sour cream 
· 3/4 to 1 cup water


· 1-1/2 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
· 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
· 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
· 1 small sweet onion, chopped 
· 1 clove garlic, minced 
· 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 
· 3/4 to 1 cup grated dry farmer's cheese 
· Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

· 3 tablespoons butter 
· 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
· 2 tablespoons flour 
· 1-3/4 cup chicken broth (either homemade or low-sodium) 
· 1/2 teaspoon salt 
· 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 
· 1/4 cup sour cream 
· 1/3 cup chives

Finished dish:

· 1/2 stick butter, cut into 1 tablespoon portions 


Prepare dough:
1. In a large bowl or mixer, combine the flour, eggs, sour cream and 1/2 cup of water. 
2. Beat the eggs as you mix and gradually add the rest of the water until the mixture is combined.
3. Turn the dough onto a well floured surface. Knead it gently, using a dropping technique (lift the dough from the surface and drop it down). Knead only until the ingredients are blended and the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, about 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to over work the dough.
4. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 20 to 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Make filling:
1. Put the potatoes in a medium pot and add just enough cold, salted water to cover them. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
2. While the potatoes cook, melt the butter and oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. 
3. Add the onion, garlic and thyme, cooking until the onion turns translucent, about 2 minutes. 
4. Lower the heat and continue cooking until onions caramelize slightly, about 20 minutes. You may need to add a bit more butter as the onion and garlic mixture cooks. 
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool.
6. When the potatoes are soft, drain them in a colander and lightly press out the remaining moisture. Return them to the pot, remove from heat and add the cooled onion mixture and the cheese. Mash them just until blended and large lumps are gone. Season again with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool while you roll out the pierogi dough.

Assemble pierogis:
1. With lightly floured hands, pinch off tablespoon sized portions of the dough and roll them into balls. The balls should be about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, yielding about 3 dozen total.
2. On a well floured surface, gently roll each ball with a rolling pin until about 1/8 inch thick and 3-1/2 inches round. Cover the finished rounds with a damp towel so they don't dry out while you're working.
3. Once your rounds are rolled out, hold each in the palm of your hand, filling the center of it with a generous tablespoon of the potato mixture. 
4. Gently fold the round in half, pulling the edges away and pinching them firmly shut to enclose the filling. Be sure the edges are sealed by working from one end to the other. As you work, set your filled pierogi aside on a floured surface and cover them with plastic wrap.
Make sauce:
1. Heat the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly until it softens and begins to turn a very light golden color. Be careful not to allow it to crisp or brown. 
2. Add the flour, and continue stirring until it is well incorporated into the butter and garlic. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the flour begins to turn golden yellow.
3. Gradually begin stirring in the chicken broth, blending it with the flour mixture until the sauce is smooth, creamy and thickened. 
4. Add the salt and pepper, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Whisk in the sour cream and blend until smooth. Add the fresh chives just before serving.

Cook pierogis:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. 
2. Working in batches, drop no more than 6 pierogi at a time into the boiling water. After they float back to the surface, allow them to cook another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the pierogi with a slotted spoon and place on a towel to drain and cool.

Sauté and serve:
1. To finish the dish, heat a tablespoon or two of butter in a pan over medium heat and briefly sauté them in batches until they are slightly crispy and brown on the exterior. 
2. Transfer to a serving dish and top with sauce.

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