11/30/07

Mushroom, Potato, and Speck Pierogies

I'm sure I'm not the only one that this has happened to in the food blog world, but it's still driving me insane all the same. I made these AWESOME pierogies (yes, I'm patting myself on the back for these - I don't care - they kicked ass) and I made notes as I went (because these ended up being my own recipe after I changed a recipe I found so much it was unrecognizable)... and NOW I CAN'T FIND THE DAMN PIECE OF PAPER I WROTE THE RECIPE ON!! I think I remember throwing it out when I cleaned the kitchen, which isn't wierd because that's what I usually do with recipes that I've printed out. They're usually stained with food by that time and who needs the paper copy when you've got it on your computer? I was probably thinking that very same thought when I threw this recipe out. But it's killing me because I feel like this was one of the very best things in the world that I've ever made. Seriously. I know, your gag reflex is kicking in because I'm going on and one about this... so sorry. But I'm annoyed.

Ok. Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to sit down and try my damndest to remember how I made these.

The pictures should guide me through, right? Ok, here goes nothin'...

You know how it used to be when everyone still had cameras that used "real film"? haha... that makes me chuckle a little. It really feels like a million years ago since I got a roll of film developed and it really hasn't been that long - maybe 4 years ago? Anyway... you know how you'd be at work at the office and one of your coworkers would stop by your desk with what could only be a brightly yellow colored Kodak envelope filled with pictures of people that you don't know or give two craps about? Then remember how that person would not just let you flip through the pictures, but go through them with you one by one, narrating the slow painful journey the whole way? They'd say things like "Oh oh! Right... here I am with Uncle Jed and Aunt Martha by the biggest pickle in the world" and "oh yeah! hahaha... here we are acting like we're shaking hands with the statue - isn't that a riot?" and you're trying not to die of boredom right there at your desk. Remember? Well, that's how it's gonna kind feel as I take you through the journey of how I made these pierogies, I think. And hopefully I can remember how the frick I made them!

Oh ok...yes, here the potatoes are boiling in the water. (hahaha... just kidding, I won't do that the whole time - that would just be annoying. Oh it's so tempting though...) Did I mention I'm enjoying a delicious beer as I blog this? Ok, ok... anyway, these are three small peeled and quartered potatoes boiling in some salted water.

So, as the potatoes were boiling, I made the dough.

WAIT! OH, YES!!!! I just found my recipe notes! I just went into the kitchen to pop open another beer (hey, it's Friday and I'm the loser sitting here food blogging - let me at least enjoy a couple beers) and I noticed some paper sitting over on top of my big cutting board tucked under the farthest kitchen cabinet and low and behold - it's my recipe!!!! Well, this is a good thing for both of us because now you know you're actually making the recipe correctly if you decide to make this yourself. What a relief!

Ok, back to business... So now that I can see here in my notes how I made this dough, let me share with you. I didn't need to, but I decided to use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer (because I just love it), so in the big bowl, I added semolina flour (officially my most favorite flour in the world after having the pleasure of working with it) and made a well in the center.

Into the center, I added the water, egg, oil, and salt, then mixed the whole thing up with the dough hook.

I finished combining it with my hands to form the dough ball, then kneaded it for 8 minutes. I then put it under a metal bowl to rest, but stay at room temperature.

By then, the potatoes were fork tender, so I drained them, then added about a tablespoon of butter, a little milk, salt and pepper, and beat them until smooth. I set the mashed potatoes aside to use a little later.

Next, I went to work on making the rest of the ingredients for the filling. I started by heating some olive oil in a deep-sided pan and sauted a chopped large shallot until soft.

Next, I sliced up a large container of white mushrooms and added those to the pan. I also added about a cup's worth of Speck, sliced into ribbons. Next, I threw in some chopped fresh parsley, a 1/2 tablespoon butter, drizzled some olive oil over the whole thing, and seasoned it with some black pepper (there was enough salt coming from the Speck). Ooh! I also added some chopped fresh sage from my partly-still-alive-and-kicking herb garden. I think my sage may be bionic.

After the mushroom mixture starting to brown up nicely, I deglazed the pan with 1/3 cup of some of the finest Merlot I've ever tasted. It's called Raymond Reserve Merlot (1999) from Napa Valley. Mark decided this would be the next wine-of-the-month (something he likes to do via email), so I'll be sure to share his write-up with you when it's finished.

Ok, back to the filling! So, trying to use every kitchen appliance I had I think, I got out the Cuisinart food processor and mixed together the mashed potatoes and the mushroom/speck/herb/goodness mixture. After combined I had to stop myself from just eating the whole bowl of filling by itself. Man...

So onto the dough. I rolled it out and cut about a million circles out of it with my biscuit cutter. (This recipe ended up making about 75 pierogies - feel free to half it!) Even from this picture, if you click on it and look at it full size, you can tell how soft and lovely this dough was. It really was a dream to work with.

I measured out exactly a teaspoon of filling for the middle of each little circle of dough, then formed them into cute little pieorgies. I didn't even need water to seal the edges.

Next, I sliced half of a gigunda onion and carmelized those bad boys.

After boiling the pierogies (5 minutes after they started floating), I sauteed them in some olive oil and carmelized onions until they browned a bit. Here's a tip for ya if you've never made pierogies: use a flexible spatula when sauteing your pierogies because they really really want to stick if you don't keep them moving in the pan, which is ok because you want them to brown, but to easily release them from the pan and move them around again, you're gonna need a flexible spatula to make your life easier. Worked for me anyway!

I plated the pierogies right away with some of the onions and of course a dollop of sour cream. They were great and if you feel like having some fun in the kitchen and making something great from scratch (or something that freezes well for future use!), give these a try and let me know what you think!




3 comments:

  1. that right there tara is hamaaaaazing. you sure do go for those complicated recipes which i totally but totally admire. i am of eastern european decent - so pierogies are the food of my peeps. the pic is great and i wish i coulda eaten some. hope you made enough to freeze...

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  2. OMG These look amazing! I love perogies, love making them from scratch too... I must try this!

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