Pierogis for all

dumplings, Tips and Tricks, vegetarian

How could anyone not love a dumpling? Cute, nutritious, and charmingly reminiscent of the old world, dumplings have much in their favor. Nearly every cuisine has its own take on these toothsome little darlings — wanton, ravioli, samosa, gyoza, manti, potsticker — whatever your mood there is surely a dumpling to suit you.

By some odd coincidence or simply geographical probability, two of my closest dance friends happen to be of recent Polish descent, and it is because of this that I decided it was time to become more familiar with the pierogi.

This particular pierogi is from the Gourmet Cookbook and though it hardly falls under the quick-meals category, it is simple and straightforward and requires no special equipment other than food processor (a blender or mortar and pestle could also do the job). Do not be scared away by the dough-making process, there is little you can do to mess this up, just mix all the dough ingredients together and knead until you have a cohesive product. Most of all, give yourself time, counter space and — if you’re into kitchen camaraderie —  invite someone to help you stuff and fold.

Wild Mushroom Pierogis, from the Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl

Please feel free to make this recipe in stages (as I do with many of my more time consuming recipes). The mushroom filling can be made ahead and refrigerated in a covered container for up to 3 days. The dough, however, should be made the day of, and please do not skip the ‘resting’ stage. The gluten that is formed during kneading makes the dough very tight and it will be almost impossible to roll out if it is not given 30 + minutes to relax at room temp. Once the pierogis are filled and folded, you can store them between sheets of wax paper in a covered container for a day or two before cooking.

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

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, then refrigerate until you are ready to use.

For the 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

Make the dough

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.

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 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.

Topping Suggestions

These doughy little treats definitely taste better with a topping or two.

Onion topping

1 lb onions, chopped

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

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.

Sour Cream Topping

1 cup sour cream (I used Toffuti vegan sour cream)

1 Tbs finely chopped fresh dill

Mix sour cream and chopped dill, and dollop away!

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