Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Potato and Cheese Pierogi

As if running a blog wasn't challenging enough, TWSF has taken on an additional culinary commitment. Recently we have fallen into the habit of cooking the same things over and over again, it can be hard to decide on dinner when the two cooks are open to anything. While perusing the internet, we stumbled across The Daring Kitchen, a blog that requires cooks and bakers to take on monthly challenges and share their stories. Like a tasting menu, it forces you to get out of your comfort zone and try a dish you normally wouldn't.  We thought this would be fun, and signed up (you actually need to apply for membership). Our first Daring Cooks challenge was the Pierogi. I was extremely excited because pierogi played a big part in college culinary experience (ie late night munchies). Back then cooking usually involved heating up something frozen, and after a night out my roommates and I often turned to the pierogi. Daring Cooks required us to make a pierogi from scratch, it may be a little more work than those college late nights, but we were looking for a challenge....

Potato and Cheese Pierogi
Recipe adapted from SoupBelly

For the dough:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs 
1/3 cup of water

For the filling:
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
Kosher salt and pepper
Garlic powder
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

*Safety note: If you are craving pierogis after last call, you're better off sticking with the frozen variety

1. Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl and add the beaten eggs and water. Mix the dough until it is solid enough to be formed into a ball. Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and continue to kneed on a floured counter top until smooth and elastic.

2. Wrap the dough in saran wrap, and set it in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes.

3. Put a small pan on the stove at medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and saute onion. When onion is translucent, remove from the heat and set aside.
Pretty sweet cutting board

4. Set a large pot of water to boil. Add diced potatoes and cook through until fork tender (approximately 15-20 minutes). Drain potatoes and put them back in the pot (I find this is easier for clean up). Start mashing with a fork, or a hand mixer if you have one.
Water boils faster if you watch it

5. Add the sauteed onions and shredded cheese to the mashed potatoes. Mix well, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Like in most dishes, we wound up adding more cheese.

6. Remove dough from fridge and roll into thin sheets about the size of a CD (for the younger readers, that was a technology we used to use before iPods)

7. Add as much filling as you think will fit and still be able to fold the dough over

8. Fold the dough over and seal the pierogi by crimping the edges with a fork and brute force

9. Bring another pot of water to a boil and boil the pierogis for about 5 minutes

10. Transfer the pierogis to a buttered sautee pan over medium heat. Cook until golden brown on each side.

11. Serve while they are still hot.

Making pierogis from scratch was definitely more difficult than than I remember it being in college, but it was also much more rewarding and the best part about about this recipe, we have leftovers in the freezer for the next time we catch a case of the late night munchies.

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