Sunday, January 3, 2010

Perogies with two fillings

For me, perogies are the ultimate comfort food. Given the opportunity I can eat 2 dozen at one seating, but they're normally filled with cheese and the dough normally contains dairy products or eggs. I've worked out a recipe for the dough that works quite well. It's probably more akin to a pasta dough than true perogie dough, but it works well. I've included two different filling recipes that I regularly use. One is a rich mushroom duxelles filling and the other a tasty mixture of artichokes and black olives.

The perogies should be filled as soon after the dough is made as possible so make your filling first. If you're going to only make one of the following two fillings, then double the recipe.

Mushroom Duxelles Filling
3 tbs Earth Balance (vegetable-based maragine) or olive oil
2 shallots (or onions), minced
1 lb mushrooms, minced (I shred them in my food processor)
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley (optional)
1 tbsp cognac or sherry (optional)

Melt the Earth Balance (or oil) in a large, deep skillet on medium heat. Add the shallots (or onions) and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, 3-5 minutes.

Stir in the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until they have given up most of their liquid, approx. 10 minutes. Add the sherry or cognac (if using). Turn the heat to low and continue to coo, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid has evaporated (20-30 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and add the parsley if using. Set aside to cool.

Artichoke-Olive Filling
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 can of artichoke hearts (approx. 6-8 small hearts), drained, rinsed and chopped
1/2 cup black olives, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

Transfer the artichokes to a food processor. Add the olives, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and pulse until coarsely chopped and blended.
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Perogie dough
1 cup warm water
3 tbsp (or more) melted Earth Balance (vegetable-based maragine) or vegetable oil
2 cups unbleached white flour
3/4 tsp salt

Place your flour and salt in your food processor (or mixing bowl) and pulse to combine. With the motor running add the melted margarine (or oil) followed by the warm water. If the dough appears too wet simply add more flour. If you're using a food processor let it knead for 30 seconds. If mixing by hand, knead the dough for about 10 minutes on a floured surface. Put the dough in a warmed bowl and cover with a damp towel.

Take half the dough and roll out on a floured surface. Roll to about 1/16 of an inch thickness, very thin but not see-through. Use the top of a glass or a cookie cutter or ring mold, approximately 3 to 4 inches in diameter, and cut circles out of the dough. Place the cut-out circles on a floured plate (you may need to flour between layers to keep the circles from sticking). Repeat the other half of the dough and then combine the excess dough and see if you can get a few more wrappers.

Set a tea towel (or clean cloth) on the counter. Take one circle, brush lightly with a pastry brush and water. Fill with a slightly rounded teaspoon of filling and then fold the circle in half and press to seal. Place the sealed perogie on the tea towel. Repeat with all the remaining circles of dough and your fillings until all the circles are filled.

Take a large pot and fill with water and salt. Bring to a boil and drop about a dozen of the perogies into the water at a time. They will rise to the surface quite quickly, but keep them boiling for about 3 minutes. Place strips of wax paper on your counter and place the boiled perogies on the paper to cool. Keep boiling the perogies until they've all been boiled. At this stage the perogies can sit for a few hours or you can begin frying them immediately. Some will also prefer to eat your perogies at this stage.

My preference is to now heat a non-stick frying pan (preferably cast iron) on medium-high and begin frying the boiled perogies. I use a small amount of Earth Balance (vegetable-based maragine) in the pan but you can also use vegetable oil. Fry your perogies (8-12 at a time, depending on the size of your pan) for approximately 3 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Place in a large bowl and keep warm in your oven.

Serve with your favourite sour cream substitute.

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