Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pierogi Experiment

It's not quite Casimir Pulaski Day yet, but I had had pirogi in the back of my mind for a while and wanted to try my hand at making them from scratch. What are pierogi you ask? Essentially, a pierog is the Polish incarnation of a dumpling. Italians have their ravioli, Chinese have gow (potstickers), and Polish have pierogi. Pierogi are crescent-shaped objects with an outer shell of pasta bursting with things like potatoes and cheese, cabbage, fruit, or meat.

In college, my Polish roommates would frequently cook potato & cheese pierogi. These were the best ones, the claimed. Sometimes they would eat the kraut ones, but neither fruit pierogi nor meat pierogi were deemed "truly Polish" enough for their tastes. The traditional way to cook pierogi, or so they told me, was to pan fry in heaps of butter until slightly golden, then topped with a large dollop of sour cream. (Pierogi are boiled first, but if you purchase the frozen kind, they are generally pre-boiled, so you can go straight to the frying stage.)

So, I wanted to make vegan pierogi. And I didn't have a recipe, so I'd call it an experiment.

2 c. All Purpose Flour
3 oz. Silken Tofu (this is half of a standard-size asceptic container)
1 c. water
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt

Leftover mashed potatoes, pepper
Optional add-ins: Onions, Kraut, Cheeze of your choosing

Mash tofu well with fork. When the consistency is smooth, slowly add half of the flour and mix well. Add salt and olive oil. Continue adding the flour and mixing the batter. Stir in 1/2 cup of water. The mixture should be on its way to becoming a dough ball. If needed, add more water. The dough should be a consistency where it can be kneaded. It should not be sticky. Next, roll the dough out to a thin layer. Cut dough into circles with a cookie cutter or the upside-down rim of a glass.

Place a small spoonful of filling in the center of each dough-circle. Fold the circle in half, and seal the edges of your pierogi.

Next, place your pierogi in pot of boiling water, salted. Small batches work best for this. When the pierogi are ready, they will float to the top and you may fish them out. After removing pierogi from boiling water, dry well, and gently fry in your buttery substance of choice. When golden, enjoy immediately!

Make sure you enjoy your filling it its original form--pierogis are not meant to disguise a lack of yummy-ness.
Don't overstuff the pierogi. The pasta may tear, and they won't look as pretty.
Breaking tradition is okay. The next day, I ate leftover pierogi with leftover pasta sauce.

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