Sunday, December 18, 2005

Grampy's Potato Pieroges

Okay, so yeh I'm of Irish and Scottish descent ("McDonald")... but I married a Polish girl... which gives us access to the best pieroge recipe in all the world! Kristine's dad makes pieroges every year and they are fabulous!

For those of you not familiar with the term "pieroge" it's simply a polish dumpling, but man are they ever awesome! Normally a pieroge's filling comes in three forms: potato, cheese, and sauerkraut. Sure, you could conceivably mix it up and make fruit fillings or whatever, but this recipe is for potato pieroges! If you want to learn more about Pierogies, visit
Pierogies Plus to look at pictures, other recipes, order from them, or get a "how-to" video.

You can tell this is an authentic ancient Polish recipe because it includes "Philadelphia Cream Cheese" and "Velveeta" ...

Ingredients:
  • 12 baking potatoes
  • 16 oz cream cheese (Philadelphia preferred, two 8 oz boxes)
  • 8 oz Velveeta (or other american/easy melting cheese)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 eggs
  • Salt (to taste)
  • White pepper (to taste)
  • An infinite supply of flour (1 bag should do it, but you never know...)
Directions:

Part one--The Filling

Bring the cheese and butter up to room temperature.

Peel and cut 8 potatoes (about four cups worth, cubed). Boil the potatoes until fork tender. Drain thoroughly and mash. Place in a blender and work in 8 oz (one box) of the cream cheese and 8 oz of the Velveeta cheese. Mix on low with a paddle mixer until thoroughly combined.

While potatoes are boiling, place peeled onion in the food processor and puree. Drop it in a skillet with a molten stick of butter. Let simmer so the butter and onions combine well. Season with salt and white pepper.

When the onions and butter have simmered for about 5 minutes, combine with the potato filling in the mixer thoroughly.

Part Two--The Dough

Cut and cube 4 potatoes and add to boiling water until fork tender. Mash the potatoes with the all of the boiling water and set aside to cool--it will be more like "potato water" than "mashed potatoes" and that's okay. The more water you have, the more flour you will have to add later and the more dough you will get out of the batch.

Beat 3 eggs, 1/2 cup softened butter, and 8oz softened cream cheese in a blender. Pour in the potato-water mixture and blend until smooth.

Replace paddle with a kneading hook. Slowly add in 6 cups of sifted flower and mix using the kneading hook.

Transfer the dough to a kneading table and slowly knead in sifted flour until the "stickiness" in the dough is gone. The amount of flour it will take will vary based on the amount of potato water used at the beginning of this step.

Cover the dough and let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Part Three--Assembly

Roll out the dough into thin pasta sheets and create 3-4 inch circles. Place a small amount (about a teaspoon) the potato filling from step 1 on one side of the circle-cut dough. "Dress" the edge of one side with egg wash and fold the dough over, enclosing the filling. Work out as much air from the filling as you can. Crimp gently with a fork.

Part Four--Boil

Boil the pieroges in boiling watter for five minutes. They should float to the top when they are done.

At this point, they are ready to eat if you like. If you are not going to eat them right away, drop them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process, brush them with molten butter and store in a zip-top back for later use. Refrigerate or freeze.

Part Five--Later Use (This is really the best part)

If frozen, thaw to room temperature your batch of pieroges. You can boil them, steam them, grill them, fry them... cook them once again any number of ways. My favorite is to sautee them in butter with a sprinkle of sage, black pepper, and kosher salt... but the sky's the limit from here!

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