Daring Cooks August challenge: Pierogi’s!

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

I was super excited about the pierogi’s!  The amount of creativity I could put into this project made me so happy when I first read it, I sat down with a pad of paper and started brainstorming ideas.  What I particularly liked about this challenge was the optional challenge of providing a filling that represent our locales.   I’m from Toronto.  In Canada, we have the same things that are in regular polish pierogi’s; at least the ones I’ve eaten!  Prince Edward Island potatoes, Montreal smoked bacon, Canadian cheddar… Didn’t sound too exciting!  So, I made a long list of fillings that I would like to see, though I’m sure half of them don’t even exist.  After I created my list, I started the decision process of what I would actually make.   We are allowed to make either sweet, or savory pierogi’s, so I decided I wanted to try to make both.  I played it safe with the last cooking challenge, I’m going all the way for this one!

I went a little crazy for this, to be honest.  I ended up deciding I was going to attempt four different types of savoury, none that I’ve ever heard of before, and two sweet, because I love my dessert.  Here are my finalized choices.

Pierogi Dough

  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups  all-purpose  flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • About 1 cup lukewarm water

Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add the salt and a little lukewarm at a time.  Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough with a towel. You want a soft dough so let it rest 20 minutes.

On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly  cut with a 2-inch  round or glass. Spoon a portion (A teaspoon will do!) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough until its all done.

Pierogi’s, as people who eat them know, freeze very well 9.5 out of 10 times so don’t worry that you’re making way too much, think of it as dinner for another night!

My friend made my pierogi dough and we had a bit of trouble with it! We couldn’t for the life of us flatten it enough , and then it was doughy after being cooked.

Crab Salad pierogi filling

  • Imitation crab meat (because I’m poor) chopped (about 1/3 of the package)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 ice cream scoops of mashed potato
  • 2 diced shallots
  • half a large carrot grated
  • Crab Seasoning

I basically went for a crab salad, inside a pierogi.   I omitted the mayonnaise because I didn’t think that it would do well in high heat, or being frozen/boiled/fried.

Final Verdict:  This pierogi was my friends favorite.  She loves crab, and the seasoning on it was just wonderful.  It was my second favorite.

Ground Pork and Apple pierogi filling

  • 1 lbs ground pork, cooked drained and dried and crumbled
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • salt/pepper to taste

When randomly thinking up this, I was thinking “well, people here love their pork, and apples are always said to be paired very well with pork.  I thought it sounded like it could work.

Final verdict:  This was AMAZING.  My friend didn’t give me an opinion on the pork because she doesn’t eat pork in general but me, and my kids all preferred the pork the best.  It was well cooked, and a bit sweet from the maple.  Definitely something I will make again!

Salmon Pierogi’s with dill sauce

  • 1 medium piece of salmon, cooked and flaked
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • the juice of half a lemon

Dill Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tsp minced fresh chives
  • 2 tsp minced green onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

My idea with the salmon was, that pierogi’s are eaten with sour cream.  Salmon is usually given a sour cream dill sauce as well so I can try to put the two together.  It sounds insane in my head but somehow it works.

Final verdict:  It was good.  In retrospect I should have added mashed potato to this one as well because it was just too fishy.  Otherwise it was good, and the sauce was nice with it.

fill, fold and fry

So all in all, this was a great experience for me.  Even if all the recipes I came up with failed, and failed hard, I had one helluva time coming up with all the ideas and creating it.  I even enjoyed the fact that I got to use my husband and my close friend as  food lab rats.


7 Responses to “Daring Cooks August challenge: Pierogi’s!”

  1. Mary Says:

    Very creative! I love fake crab, so that one sounds great, but so do the others. I was a bit boring in my fillings, but this was a fun challenge. By the way, have you tried the fake crab salad from Hannah’s Kitchen on Yonge at Eglinton? I always get it when I’m in town.

  2. blepharisma Says:

    I like the sound of these. From the description, I think my favourite would probably end up being the crab one (I’m a sucker for crab anything). I also love the idea of dill sour cream for the salmon ones!

  3. Albee Says:

    oh man pierogi’s with cheddar & bacon would be………..oh yeah! gimme!

  4. Ruth H. Says:

    Gotta love having a captive audience for food experiments! Bravo on your bravery with the fillings!! You really are a Daring Cook!!

  5. chef_d Says:

    All your pierogi fillings sound yummy but my favorite would have to be the crab salad. Great job!

  6. Anula Says:

    What an amazing job you did this month! So great idea for the fillings 🙂
    Thank you for taking part this month.

    Cheers. Anula.

  7. Marisa Says:

    Good job on all the different fillings – you had way more energy than I! I think the salmon one sounds fabulous, esp with the creamy dill sauce.

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