Pierogi with Duck

I have recently returned from a super, short holiday in Gdańsk during which I tried out many old favourites and several new dishes.

I tried pierogi in several restaurants, choicing some unusual fillings and have been inspired to make them with some new fillings.

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. and have been inspired to make some with some new fillings.

I had several delicious meals in a restaurant in the Old Town called Gvarathe name is based on the Polish word gwara which means dialect (Polish does not have the letter v !). This restaurant serves Polish cuisine – often with a modern take and it has given me much inspiration for some new recipes.

One of the dishes there was pierogi with  duck in the filling.

On the way back to the airport the taxi driver told me that his wife would be cooking duck with red cabbage for Easter Sunday – this set me thinking!

Because I had several ducks in the freezer, I roasted these and took off all the meat – however in the future I would just buy duck breasts or legs and roast or poach them.

3 Duck Fillings

Cooked duck meat – roasted or poached  – is used in these recipes – amouts are not critical.

Fillings must be left to go cold before using.

Duck & Apple

  • 150g of cooked duck meat
  • 4 eating apples – Braeburn or Coxes are good

Method

  • Core the apples and place them in a oven proof dish
  • Cook them in a medium oven until the flesh is soft
  • Scope out all the apple flesh
  • Chop or mince the cooked duck meat
  • Combine the duck and apple flesh together.

 

Serve with melted butter – here on Royal Worcester – Evesham from 1961 onwards.

 

 

Duck, Red Cabbage & Cranberries

  • 150g of cooked duck meat
  • 300g red cabbage
  • 50g of dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon of butter

Method

Rather than boiling, steaming or slow cooking the red cabbage, I used a sort of stir-fry & braising method which worked really well.

  • Put the cranberries in a dish a cover them with some boiling water and leave them for about half an hour.
  • Shred the cabbage.
  • In a deep frying/ saucepan heat some water and add the butter.
  • Stir in the cabbage and simmer gently for a few minutes.
  • Cover the pan – a glass lid is good so you can see what is happening – you need to check and stir occasionally.
  • Simmer for around 10 minutes.
  • Add the cranberries & water, stir and on put the lid back on.
  • Simmer for around 10  to 15 minutes.
  • Keep a check on the water so it does not dry out.
  • If the cabbage has not cooked enough – adjust the water and cook for a bit longer.
  • Leave to cool completely
  • Use a mini-chopper or stick blender to shred the cabbage mixture.
  • Chop or mince the cooked duck meat.
  • Combine the duck and cabbage & cranberry mixture together.

Serve with melted butter – here on La prune by  Jet for Ter Steege in The Netherlands.

Duck & Sauerkraut

  • 150g of cooked duck meat
  • Around half a large jar of sauerkraut
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Pepper to taste

Method

  • Put the sauerkraut with the liquid from the tin or jar into a pan and cover with boiling water.
  • Simmer the sauerkraut gently for about 30 minutes.
  • Then uncover and boil off as much of the liquid as possible – without burning the sauerkraut.
  • Allow the boiled sauerkraut to cool.
  • Strain it using a sieve and pressing it down with a spoon to get the mixture as dry as possible (If you want you can put the strained mixture into a clean dry cotton or linen teacloth, twist the ends together to squeeze it to get it really dry).
  • Chop the sauerkraut finely with a sharp knife.
  • Chop the onion finely  and fry it gently in the butter until it is soft and golden – leave it to cool.
  • Chop or mince the cooked duck meat.
  • Combine the cabbage mixture, the fried onion and the chopped sauerkraut.
  • Add some pepper to taste.

Fried pierogi

All the butter coated pierogi that are not eaten can be fried up later – equally delicious!

 

I have written much previously about pierogi  – but have included the instructions for the dough again below.

Ingredients – Dough

  • 250g pasta flour or strong flour or plain flour & 2 tablespoons of fine semolina
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tablespoon oil – sunflower or light olive
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk

Method

  • 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 (I only do 6 at a time if using frozen ones).
  • As they cook they will float to the surface, let them boil for 2 to 3 minutes, a bit more if they were frozen, and then remove them with a slotted or perforated spoon and put into a colander above a pan for a few seconds to drain and serve.
  • 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 the 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.

 

 

 

 

More Duck

Duck With Sour Cherries

After apples (see It’s Only A Bird!) one of the most popular ways of serving roast duck in Poland is with sour cherries.

Sour cherries & sweet cherries  are related but in Polish they have have completely different names

Prunus cerasus  are wiśnie  –  sour cherries also known as morello cherries  &  Prunus avium are czereśnie –  sweet cherries.

Prunus cerasus originated in the Iranian plateau & Eastern Europe.

Annual crop production figures for sour cherries in 2012  show:

1  – Turkey with over 187,000 tonnes

2  – Russia with over 183,000 tonnes &

3 –  Poland with over 175,000 tonnes

So the figure for Poland is high when you think of the size of the top two countries, especially when figures for the whole of the United States of America are only  around  38,000tonnes.

For this recipe fresh sour cherries would have to be cooked with some sugar but  here in England rather than fresh sour cherries you have to use bottled ones.

Previously I used to be able to buy bottled sour cherries produced by Krakus or PEK but recently went out shopping for these I could not find any shops that stocked them.

In one of the Polish shops I found some from the company EDMAL and I also found some in Lidl.

Both are good though personally  I preferred the taste of the EDMAL ones.

The Lidl ones are pitted whearas the EDMAL ones still have the stones in – you can remove the stones if you want or just warn people that the stones are still in.

Cherry Stoner

There is more liquid in the EDMAL jar as this is sold as a kompot.

Kompot is a non-alcoholic sweet beverage, that may be served hot or cold.

It is made by cooking fruit such as apples, rhubarb, gooseberries, or sour cherries in a large volume of water, together with sugar or raisins. Sometimes spices such cinnamon are added for additional flavour, especially in winter when kompot is usually served hot.

For this recipe you need to strain more liquid off from the kompot which you  can save and drink later.

A jar is easily enough for  4 people and could serve 6.

The sour cherries are cooked separately from the duck in this recipe.

 

 

Rather than using whole duck,  I use duck breasts, 1 per person, as this makes it easier for me especially when there are more than two people for dinner.

I am giving instructions for 2 different coatings for the duck here –  the rest of the instructions are the same.

Ingredients

Duck breasts – 1 per person

Jar of sour cherries.

Italian herbs or  ground allspice

Salt & pepper

Method

Rub the duck breasts with Italian herbs, ground black pepper and salt and leave for at least an hour.

or

Rub the duck breasts with allspice and salt and leave for at least an hour

Duck breast with Italian herbs, salt and pepper.

 

 

Duck breast with allspice and salt.

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Allspice  is very popular in Polish cooking. It is the dried berry of the plant Pimenta diocia

Allspice in Polish is ziele angielskie  which translates as  herb English because it came to Poland from English traders who brought it from the West Indies in the 16th century.  I do not know why it is called herb (which indicates the  green part of a plant) as the word more often used for spice in Polish is zioła (indicating dried berries or roots etc).

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C

Put a baking tray in the oven for around 10 minutes to heat up.

Heat a heavy based frying pan (I use a cast iron pan) until it is very hot –  you do not need any added oil or fat.

Place the duck breasts in the pan skin side down and turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Put the duck onto the heated baking tray.

Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes.

You can serve the duck breast as whole pieces or slice them up.

Whilst the duck is in the oven, put the strained cherries with some of the juice into a pan and bring to the boil, then simmer gently for around 5 minutes – do not let them boil dry – add extra juice if necessary.

Serve the cooked duck with the cherries, adding some of the juices as well as the fruit.

Duck with sour cherries served on Carnation (1982 -1998) by Royal Doulton

 

 

 

 

It’s Only A Bird!

I was in Poland during a time of economic difficulties when there were food shortages & rationing. It was in the summer holiday period,

In order to alleviate the meat shortage in the main tourist areas, hotels & restaurants had been all allocated a different Meatless Day each week.

Now in Poland when you say meat – most people think pork!

I had not really been affected by this as most of my time had been spent with relatives and much of it in the countryside but I did make one visit to Warsaw and went with my cousin to a small but posh restaurant.

The maître d’  came up to me and this was the conversation:

“My dear lady, I am afraid you have come to us on a meatless day”

“Please do not worry,  what do you have on the menu?”

“There is roast duck”

“Is duck not meat?”

“It’s only a bird!”

On that day I had the best roast duck with apples I have ever eaten!

I have spent some time recreating this dish. The duck I had in Warsaw had been roasted stuffed with apples  – here I have been using duck breast fillets as this fits in better with the meals I make.

I have tried using eating apples & cooking apples and they have both turned out very well. The recipe with cooking apples is nearer to the original Polish roast but as they were both delicious I am including them both.

For these recipes I have used Gressingham duck breasts.

Gressingham duck was first breed in Lancashire, England in the 1980s near a village of that name.  It is cross between the small flavourful wild Mallard and the larger Pekin duck.  It gives a succulent duck with more breast meat, less fat and a rich, gamey  flavour.

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Production is now by Gressingham Foods Ltd in East Anglia.

I have used the same method for preparing and cooking the duck breasts, allowing 1 breast per person.  The difference between the 2 recipes is the type of apple used.

Duck with Bramley Apples

Ingredients

1 Duck breast per person

2 to 3 Bramley apples

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of sugar

Italian Herbs

Salt & Pepper

Method

Rub the duck breasts with Italian herbs, ground black pepper and salt and leave for at least 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C.

Peel and core the Bramley and cut into quarters or eighths depending on the size of the apples.

In a saucepan, over a low heat, melt the butter, add the apples and cook then for around 5 minutes – you want them to to be softened but not a purée.  Keep them warm in the pan whilst you do the duck breasts.

 

 

Heat a heavy based frying pan (I use a cast iron pan) until it is very hot- you do not need any added oil or fat.

Place the duck breasts in the pan skin side down and turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Put the apples onto a baking tray and sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over them.

Put the duck breast on top of the apples with the skin side up.

Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes.

 

Duck with Eating Apples

Ingredients

1 Duck breasts per person

2 to 3 eating apples such as Pink Lady or Jazz

1 tablespoon of butter

Italian Herbs

Salt & Pepper

Method

Rub the duck breasts with Italian herbs, ground black pepper and salt and leave for at least 1 hour.

Pre- heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C.

Leave the skins on the eating apples.

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Core the apples and cut them into thick slices.

In a saucepan, over a low heat, melt the butter,add the apples and cook then for around 5 minutes – you want them to to be softened but not a purée.  Keep them warm in the pan whilst you do the duck breasts.

Heat a heavy based frying pan (I use a cast iron pan) until it is very hot- you do not need any added oil or fat.

Place the duck breasts in the pan skin side down and turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Put the apples onto a baking tray.

 

Put the duck breast on top of the apples with the skin side up.

Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes.