Pierogi leniwe – means lazy pierogi or lazy dumplings.
I wrote about kopytka – Polish potato dumplings a good while back and these have the same shape.
Traditional recipes use twaróg – Polish curd cheese – I use my own yoghurt cheese. I have found that you can use crumbly, white, mild, English cheeses such as: Cheshire, Lancashire or Wensleydale.
They can be served savoury or sweet – with melted butter, à la Polonaise(buttered breadcrumbs) or skwarki (crisp, fried, small squares of bacon) or sweet with a cinnamon sugar mixture.
400g of twaróg (curd cheese), yoghurt cheese or a white, crumbly cheese.
3 egg yolks
160 – 200g of plain flour
½ teaspoon of salt
Mix the yolks with the cheese.
Add the salt
Weigh out the flour to give an idea of how much is needed – this will depend on the cheese and the size of the eggs.
Add the flour and mix first with a wooden spoon and then by hand, you might not need all the flour or you may need more.
Mix until you have a soft dough.
Divide the dough into quarters and using a floured board shape the dough and roll it with you hands until you have a long sausage about 3cm in diameter. If the dough sticks to the board then you need to add more flour.
Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into pieces, make the first cut at a diagonal and make the thickness about 1 to 1.5cm. You will get a sort of oval shape.
Repeat this with the rest of the dough.
Fill a large pan with water, add some salt and bring this to the boil.
When the water is boiling, add the dumplings one by one, do not over fill the pan or they will stick together. I tend to do around 8 at a time.
As they cook they will float to the surface, give them about another minute and then remove them with a slotted or a perforated spoon and put them in a colander.
I have a colander sitting in an empty pan by the side of the large pan in which I am boiling the dumplings.
I find that the maximum from putting them into the water to taking them out will be 3 minutes, if you cook these too long they will start to fall apart.
Here served as suggested above with melted butter and with skwarki (crisp, fried, small squares of bacon).
So I have decided on this Polish classic with a new twist – one I will certainly be making again.
Last Easter time I was in Gdańsk and I got to eat many old favourites and several new dishes.
I tried pierogi in several restaurants, choosing some unusual fillings and have written about some of these already such as pierogi with duck.
I did find that some of the meaty ones were too big – I use a 7cm diameter cutter, which for me gives a better filling to pasta ratio.
On one menu I noticed a filling of chicken, raisins and walnuts. I did not get the chance to eat these but decided that this was a must to try out.
150 -200g of cooked chicken or thighs – roasted or poached – amounts are not critical.
50g of raisins
30-50g of walnuts
Pepper to taste
Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with boiling water.
Leave for an hour till they swell up.
Place them into a small saucepan heat them slowly and simmer stirring with a wooden spoon.
Once you have a pulp of the raisins leave them to go cold.
Chop the walnuts into small pieces.
Chop or mince the chicken.
Mix the ingredients together.
Season with pepper.
Use this filling for the pierogi – instructions for the dough are given below.
Serve with melted butter.
I have written much previously about pierogi – but have included the instructions for the dough again below to save you looking it up.
Ingredients – Dough
250g pasta flour or strong flour or plain flour & 2 tablespoons of fine semolina
1 tablespoon oil – sunflower or light olive
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
In a jug or bowl mix together the water, oil and the yolk.
Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
Pour in the liquid from the jug and initially use a knife to mix this into the flour and then use your hands to mix the liquid and flour to get a ball of dough.
Turn this out onto a floured board and knead the dough for a few minutes until you have a smooth ball.
Cut the dough into quarters.
On a floured board roll out a quarter at a time until you have a sheet of thinly rolled dough.
Now prepare a large tray and cover it with a clean tea towel and sprinkle this with flour.
Have a large surface such as a tray covered with a cotton or linen cloth which has been lightly floured ready and place the sealed pierogi on this until they are all made, do not let then touch each other.
I cut them out using a 7 cm diameter cutter.
The excess dough can be re-mixed and rolled out again.
Around a half tablespoon of filling is put on each circle and then they are folded over and the edges pinched together to make a good seal.
You learn from experience how much filling to put in as too much will make it hard to seal them and if not properly sealed they will burst on boiling. Do not worry if you have a few mishaps – it still happens to me even with experience – it is hard to salvage one that has gone wrong – just accept that there will be a few that you do not cook.
To cook the pierogi, use a large pan of boiling water to which you have added some salt and a drizzle of oil.
Drop the pierogi in one by one and allow them to boil. I usually do about 6 to 8 at a time.
As they cook they will float to the surface, let them boil for 2 to 3 minutes and then remove them with a slotted or perforated spoon and put them into a colander above a pan for a few seconds to drain.
Continue boiling batches in the same water.
If you want to make all the pierogi to serve together then you need to get a large shallow dish and put melted butter into the dish.
Keep the dish warm in a low oven.
As you take out the cooked pierogi add them to the dish, mix them with the butter to prevent them sticking.
Keep on adding more as they cook and keep shaking the dish to coat and mix them.
All the butter coated pierogi that are not eaten can be fried up later – equally delicious!
Any that are not eaten should be spread out so that they cool with the melted butter around them.
Later, you can then fry them up gently so they are golden in parts.