Hometown cooking. The luck that can come while preparing a regional dish should never be underestimated. Live in Buffalo, you better be frying up some wings for um… Yes. Tennessee. Or for the press conference announcing Terrell Owens is leaving the team. Good luck either way. (Titans fans I imagine make BBQ squirrel or are still eating some leftover Terrible Towel humble pie.)
The Steelers having this week’s Monday Night Football stage gave me all day to make the most powerful lucky dish known to Western Pennsylvania (outside of Dan Bylsma’s lucky burrito); pierogies. Pierogies may be one of the few dishes to be featured on both bar and church fundraiser menus alike around Pittsburgh. There are dozens of filling options. Different secrets on how to make the pasta part just right. Some people fry them. Some people boil them. Some boil and then sauté their pierogies. (My preferred method making pierogies.) Served with sour cream or farmer’s cheese. There are few things more Pittsburgh than pierogies. Did I have a Polish or Russian Nana? No. Did I still have pierogies for dinner at least every other week growing up? Absolutely.
Why are pierogies a great football food? Hearty and carb-y enough to soak up extra beer in your stomach. If they’re fried they are just as good – if not better - than any other bar food, i.e. a snack you can grab and stuff in your mouth without having to look away from the television. They even look like little footballs if you squint hard enough.
You will need…
4 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling dough
1 teaspoon salt
2 large whole eggs
1 egg white
1 cup sour cream, plus extra to serve with the pierogi
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Butter and onions for sauteing
Garlic for sauteing (Optional)
Vegetable oil (Optional. This is a really sticky dough to kneed, so putting some oil on your hands helps keep form the dough without it all sticking to your hands. Helps keep the dough soft. No more than a couple of tablespoons.)
Potato, Cheese and Onion Filling:
4-5 medium-sized potatoes (Either red or Russet work nicely. You need a dry potato.)
8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese (Some people prefer farmer’s cheese, cottage cheese, or American cheese. Since long time FFF readers know I love cheese, I like sharp cheddar so the cheese can stand up to the onions.)
1 medium sized onion
1 tablespoon butter
Ground pepper and salt to taste (No more than a teaspoon each. Cheese is salty enough.)
Peel and cut the potatoes like you would for mashed potatoes and then boil until soft all the way through. Drain. While the potatoes cook, dice one onion and sauté in butter until translucent.
Combine the drained potatoes, shredded cheese and onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool down and start on your dough.
I made my dough in two batches because this recipe makes approximately 10,000,000 pierogies, and I am just one person on a schedule. Knowing that I only had a few hours before kickoff, the following pictures reflect just half of the dough.
Combine all the wet ingredients in one bowl (sour cream, eggs, egg white, melted butter), and your dry ingredients (salt, flour) in another bowl. Slowly incorporate your wet with your dry, and knead together. As I said before, the dough will be very sticky, so coat your hands with about a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Form into four equal sized balls.
Maybe I’ll go over this more later, but as a women with naturally large breasts on a small body, nothing pisses me off more than women who get implants just to decide to remove them at a later date when they no longer fit their needs. Get bent, Jenn. Your fake breasts had nothing to do with why you were not taken seriously as sports reporter.
Refrigerate the dough for about 20 minutes so it is easier to handle.
Now, there are two ways you can make each pierogi. You can roll out your dough into one large sheet and then cut out a 2 – 4 inch round with a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter. I think this can be rather time consuming down the road as you have to re-roll the dough scraps out several times, making it tougher each time. I prefer to make a little log of dough about an 1 1/2 in diameter, cut off about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch at a time and roll each piece out into a small oval, which is easier to fold over the potato mixture. Make a little ball of filling on each disc about 1 to 1 1/2 inch in size.
Seal each pierogi by hand or with a fork. If the dough is too dry, use a little water at the edges to help seal the edges completely.
Once your batch is done, refrigerate for about 30 minutes so they firm up before cooking. The ones you are not going to eat right away can be frozen for later. (Pre-freeze for about 10 minutes on a cookie sheet so they don’t all stick together once you stick them in a freezer bag.)
Boil the pierogies in lightly salted water for about 6-8 minutes. They will float when they’re ready! While the pierogies are boiling, melt some butter in a pan and start to gently cook your onions over medium heat.
Once the pierogies are done boiling, drain. Add to the onions and add some fresh garlic. Sauté until lightly browned. Serve with a side of sour cream.
Stoli Gala Applik
Stolichnaya’s new Gala Applik vodka might very well replace Stoli Blueberri as my favorite flavored vodka of all time. Apple martinis made with most apple schnapps can be way too sweet. Stoli’s new flavor means you can kiss that bottle of Pucker (and its neon green color) good-bye for a refreshing fall cocktail. The apple taste is complex enough that it holds up well with cinnamon for a nice pie tasting drink.
Apple Pie White Russian
1 3/4 ounce of Stoli Gala Applik
1/2 ounce cinnamon schnapps, like Goldschlager
Top with milk or half and half
Dust with cinnamon
I Don’t Know What to Call This Cocktail
2 ounces of Stoli Gala Applik
3/4 ounce of cinnamon schnapps, like Goldschlager
Top with ginger ale
Both of these drinks would probably benefit from vanilla vodka, which I am unfortunately out of at the moment. Gala Applik also works well with tonic water for an adult apple juice.
Friday Football Foodie Pre-Announcement!
Look for a news about a Friday Football Foodie contest coming early next week!