My Family First: Jamie’s Polish Pierogi

Pierogi feature quite heavily as an appetizer in many of the restaurants we have experienced here in Canada.  Even after over two years, we are still adjusting to the portion sizes so always seem to skip ordering this little delight.  It turns out that, served with a big mixed salad, these beauties work as a delicious main course too.

So, needless to say this was a total winner!  My husband chose this dish as our Family First from Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food cookbook, and he then made it with our little chica as his chief assistant.  She got flour everywhere, I mean everywhere, but had great fun so it was entirely worth it! I did my best to stay out of the kitchen by entertaining our boyo.You can find Jamie’s recipe in Comfort Food but here is my abridged version that will still work a treat!

To make the dough…
2 large eggs
400g soured cream
350g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp baking powder

Beat the eggs with 150g of soured cream. Add the flour, baking powder and a big pinch of salt and then mix together to form a dough.  Kneed it on a floured surface until smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and chuck in the fridge.

For the filling…
1/4 of a white cabbage, coursely grated
2 tbsp white wine vinegar (we only had red and it was more than fine)
500g Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tsp caraway seeds
2 onions, finely chopped
Olive oil
Unsalted butter
120g mature cheddar, grated
White pepper (we were out, so used a black and pink peppercorn combo)

Toss the vinegar and a pinch of salt over the cabbage, giving it a good squeeze and shake around, and then leave to pickle.

Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender, then drain and steam dry.

Toast the caraway seeds in a dry pan for a few minutes to wake the flavours up before adding a ‘good lug of oil’ (love Jamie’s style) and the onions to cook until golden for 5-8 minutes.  Then add the cabbage with a good knob of butter and cook for a further 5 minutes.  Mash the potatoes, season with the pepper and add the onions, cabbage and grated cheese.  Mix well and taste for seasoning.

For the dipping goodness…
1 lemon
1 bunch of chives, finely chopped

Mix the remaining sour cream detailed above with the zest and juice of one lemon and the chopped chives.  Fridge it ’til you need it!

Back to the dough…
Cut the dough in half and then on a floured surface roll out each piece one at a time until it is 2mm thick.  Use a 9cm round cutter to out as many circle as you can.Divide the filling into heaped tsps and then, using your hands, roll each one into a ball.  Place a disc of the dough into the centre of your hand and then pop one of the balls into the centre.  Gently fold the disc in half and pinch the edges to seal the filling inside.  Place on a floured surface once sealed.  Once you have got them all to this stage, use the prongs of a fork dipped in flour to stamp the edges. Cook the pierogi a few at a time in a large pan of salted boiling water.  It will take about 4 minutes for them to rise to the top, at which point you will know they are cooked.  Carefully scoop them out and transfer them to a large hot pan with lots of bubbling butter melting in it.  Once golden on one side, remove from the pan and serve with the lemony chive sour cream.Then, just tuck on in.  We did and loved them.  Thanks Jamie, a Family First has become a new family fave and a recipe we will be experimenting with.  Perhaps we will sub the potatoes with some celeriac next time…


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