Saturday, August 14, 2010

Daring Cooks' August Challenge - Pierogi

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.

Once again, I was under the wire for this month’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge. This is becoming a habit!

I’d eaten traditional Polish pierogi before, and was looking forward to trying out the challenge recipes. In the end, I only had time to try Anula’s family recipe.

Making the filling (which consisted in mashed potatoes, bacon, onion, and cottage cheese) was simple enough. I had some mushrooms in the fridge that needed to be used, and you should know by now that I will eat mushrooms in anything, so I finely diced them, sautéed them with the onion, and tossed them into the mix. The filling turned a rather depressing shade of grey (Portobello mushrooms will do that), but I was pleased with the taste.

The dough wasn’t the easiest to work with, I found, although that was probably my own fault, as I suspect I may have overhandled it. It was a bit too rubbery, and had a tendency to retract when I rolled it – a tendency which only increased when I gathered the scraps and rerolled.

Also, I was a little sloppy when filling the dumplings – which is my way of saying I overfilled most of them. I was afraid they would burst when I tried to boiled them, so… I cheated a little. Instead of boiling them, I pan-fried them, then steamed them, pot-sticker-style. As much as I love pot-stickers (I’ve been a gyoza-addict every since that DC challenge more than a year ago), I would have preferred to boil them, as I remember having enjoyed the silky texture of boiled pierogi. But I was hungry, and tired, and this was all we were having for dinner, so I wasn’t taking any chances with it. I know boiled pierogi can be fried once they have cooled, but I wonder if what I ended up making still qualifies as pierogi? Oh well, call them “potato and cheese gyoza” if you wish, they were still good!

As predicted, the dough was a little tough. But I did love the filling. Only I had some of the latter leftover (probably because of all the mushrooms I had added), and decided it would be cool to make croquettes with it. Laurent, my deep-frying expert, obligingly took care of it – but, through no fault of his own, the croquettes disintegrated in the oil. Having said that, the portion we were able to salvage from the pan was actually really good (albeit unattractive as hell), like über-decadent mashed potatoes. I smell a culinary discovery!

My thanks to LizG and Anula for this fun challenge! I promise I will try properly boiling my next batch of pierogi! In the meantime, please check out the challenge recipes at the Daring Kitchen, as well as the Daring Cooks’ blogroll, for tons of creative dumplings!


  1. What a great thought to add portabellos. Mushrooms are a traditional filling, so I bet they really stood out. I usually take my pierogies right out of the boiling water to the hot butter for frying without cooling off and never had a problem with it. Congrats on a great challenge!

  2. Congrats on a great challenge!! The endresult looks quite fab & ooh so tasty too!


    Kisses from Brussels!

  3. OUAH! I am impressed!
    seems to be so yummy!


  4. Nice looking pierogi :)
    Thank you for taking part this month!

    Cheers. Anula.

  5. Val!!! Congrats on your engagement!! (hugging you virtually) I am so happy for both of you! Now that photo is the best dish ever lol

    On a much milder but delicious note, I love your pierogi, the addition of bacon and mushrooms just screams for me to eat them! Beautifully done!!

  6. I also suffered from over filling syndrome lol. But I think you are being to hard on yourself, what you show us here looks awesome!

  7. I had the same issues with my dough, making for a kind of chewy perogis. Not that it stopped me from eating way too many...
    Yours look fantastic, and I love the gyoza way of cooking them.

  8. I haven't ate perogies in 6 years since my last trip to BC. Yours looks fantastic!

    I heard the weirdest thing from one of my Polish friend, it seems you can use jam as a dipping sauce, and even Nutella...

  9. Well considering you still managed to make the challenge they look great! I sure love gyoza very very much so I am positive I would have loved these too!

  10. Thanks for dropping by, Valérie. Glad you enjoyed the challenge, albeit under the gun (of a hungry stomach). :) Good job on the filling. And hey, frying them instead of boiling them first? Why not? I'll have to try that too. Cheers!

  11. This challenge is so fun, I've followed other bloggers that also partook in the challenge. Your creation looks very yummy! Nice!