This twist on the classic Polish favorite, with earthy rosemary and sweet potatoes, is the perfect hearty meal to keep warm as the fall days become cooler.
Growing up Polish American means growing up eating pierogi, the delicious dumplings, usually filled with potato or sauerkraut, that are fried in butter. Most often, this also means eating frozen pierogi, a staple in many Polish homes in the US. My mother often made pierogi for dinner, usually serving them with kielbasa, Polish sausage, but we never made them from scratch. However it makes all the difference when you can stuff the dumplings with a variety of fillings, and the recipe is not difficult, it just involves planning. Use your time wisely, you can be eating a bowl for dinner tonight, transporting your table to Poland!
Although dishes similar to pierogi can be found all over Eastern Europe, the Polish variety are made with a pasta-like dough and are filled most often with sauerkraut, potato, cheese and fried onions in North America and cabbage or ground meat in Poland. A dessert version is often filled with strawberries or blueberries and served with a sweetened sour cream. Traditionally, pierogi were a peasant food, but the dish eventually grew in popularity throughout all of the social classes.
In cities such as Philadelphia or Chicago with large Polish immigrant populations, you can find delicatessens that make homemade pierogi everyday. While these shops sell the traditional flavors, unique combination’s sprout up, with everything from meat and spinach to bacon and cheddar to a cheesesteak filled pierogi. This recipe adds a slight twist to the original classic, using a filling with a combination of sweet potatoes and yams for color. Topped with fried onions and a rosemary brown butter, this Polish classic is sure to become a new favorite in your kitchen. And as they say in Poland, Smaczengo or Bon Appetite!
*This recipe is my submission for the second round of the Project Food Blog challenge, “The Classics.” Please continue supporting me and vote tomorrow, Monday September 27, so I can advance to round number three!
Sweet potato pierogi with rosemary brown butter(makes about 3 dozen)
Pierogi Dough (adapted from Martha Stewart Living, April 2010)
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup milk
1 cup water
3 cups all -purpose flour
2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
* Start with step one for the filling, then proceed with the dough. (1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a sheet tray with parchment or a silpat. Place the sweet potatoes and yam on the tray and roast for one hour, or until soft.
1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg lightly. Add in the sour cream and combine until smooth. Whisk into this mixture the milk and water. Add the flour, one cup at a time, transferring to a wooden spoon when batter starts to get thick. Combine the salt with the last cup of flour, and add it to the dough (this will make sure that the salt is evenly distributed to the dough).
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (the dough will be sticky). Knead gently, adding flour if needed, for five to 10 minutes. The dough will come together as you knead, so make sure not to add too much flour, as this will make the dough tough. Roll into a ball and cover with a clean, inverted bowl. Let sit for one hour.
3. While the dough is sitting, proceed with the filling, at step 2.
4. After one hour, line a baking sheet with a silpat or a clean towel, and generously dust with cornmeal. Divide the dough evenly into four pieces. Re-cover three pieces and place the fourth on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 1/8-inch round.
5. Using a 3-inch cutter or glass, cut circles out of the dough very close together so as to not waste any dough. Place a small spoonful of filling near the top of each circle, and fold the dough over in half to cover the filling. Gently pick up the crescent and pinch the edges closed. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
6. While you are shaping the pierogi, bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a boil. When water is boiling, place five to eight pierogi in the water. The dumplings will sink to the bottom, so stir gently to avoid sticking. When the pierogi rise to the top of the water, cook for two more minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean tray lined with a silpat or parchment.
7. After all pierogi are boiled, heat a medium-sized skillet over medium high heat. Place one tablespoon of butter in the pan and allow to melt and get hot. Cook the pieorgi in batches, frying lightly for one to two minutes, on each side. Add more butter when necessary. Serve with fried onions and drizzle with rosemary butter. *If you do not want to cook all pierogi at once, place extra on a lined sheet tray that is dusted with cornmeal. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. When you cook, boil pierogi straight from the freezer, do not thaw.
Sweet potato filling
2 sweet potatoes
1 large yam
3 tablespoons butter
4 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a sheet tray with parchment or a silpat. Place the sweet potatoes and yam on the tray and roast for one hour, or until soft.
2. When potatoes are cooked through, remove from the oven and take off skins. You should be able to just peel off the skins, but use a paring knife to help if necessary. Place the potatoes in a medium sized bowl. Using a potato masher or hand held blender, mash the potatoes until fairly smooth. Add the cream cheese, butter, salt and combine.
Heat one stick of butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Skim the white foam that rises to the top of the melted butter off, discarding. This is the process for clarifying butter. When all foam (the milk fats) have been skimmed, add one or two sprigs of rosemary. Cook over medium low heat until the solids at the bottom of the pot begin to brown slightly.