Well over a year ago when on a trip to Gdańsk, in one restaurant I saw on the menu pierogi (Polish filled pasta) which had leeks, peas and soured cream as a filling.
Although I did not try these, I thought they sounded good and tried out this mixture as a filling for buckwheat pancakes.
At last I have had the time to try this out as a filling for pierogi.
I adjusted the filling I had made for the pancakes by using cream cheese (or twaróg or yoghurt cheese) rather than soured cream.
2 leeks – chopped
50 – 75g frozen peas
2-3 tablespoons of butter
2 -3 tablespoons of cream cheese, twaróg or yoghurt cheese
Salt and pepper to taste.
Using a deep large frying pan with a lid (a glass one is best), melt the butter and gently cook the leeks to soften them but not brown.
Add the frozen peas and cover with the lid and cook for a few minutes.
Stir the mixture and continue to heat without the lid to drive off excess liquid.
Purée most of the mixture – keeping some of the peas whole.
Stir in the cream cheese (twaróg or yoghurt cheese).
Season to taste.
Ingredients – Dough
250g pasta flour or plain flour & 2 tablespoons of fine semolina
1 tablespoon oil – sunflower or light olive
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
Method – Dough
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.
Cover and leave to rest for about ½ an hour.
Cut the dough into half.
Prepare a large tray and cover it with a clean cotton or linen tea towel and sprinkle this with flour.
On a floured board roll out the dough a half at a time until you have a sheet of thinly rolled dough.
Cut out circles 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 – 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.
Place the sealed pierogi on prepared tray until they are all made, do not let then touch each other.
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 7 at a time.
As they cook they will float to the surface, let them boil for 2 minutes 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 with melted butter.
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 oven proof dish.
Melt lots of butter in the dish.
Keep the dish warm in a low oven.
As you take out the cooked pierogi add them to the dish and coat them with the melted butter.
Keep on adding more as they cook.
Plate- Alfred Meakin – Midwinter – Spanish Garden 1960s
These are good served just with the melted butter.
I also liked the gently refried ones, in the butter, the next day.
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).