Christmas #1: Polish pierogi with sauerkraut

Hello little dumplings!

It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything and I want to truly apologize. It’s been crazy at school this past week and I was so so rushed off my feet.

Last weekend I had to sing in a choir competition, which took almost half of my Saturday away. I had to make fillings for pierogi and doughs for two types of gingerbread cookies. On Sunday I baked all the gingerbread cookies and took pictures of them, which as you all know is super time consuming. I wanted to make pierogi as well but they take so much time that I decided to make them on Monday. And actually I slept till 10 am on Sunday so that’s why I had very little time, but I was extremely tired after the whole week of tests that it was a much needed sleep.

On Monday I came home earlier and made the first batch of pierogi and took pictures of them, which also took quite some time. Later I had to finish forming my little dumplings, which would take much more without my Mum’s help. Thank you Mum :*

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Finally I have time to write a post and edit the photos. I hope you will like what I’ve prepared for you!

This Christmas episode features a polish traditional dish: Pierogi. These ones are with sauerkraut and cep mushrooms, penny bun, porcino, king bolete, however you want to call it. It is really important to use cep mushrooms because only these have that taste and smell we need to achieve a perfect and delicious cooked sauerkraut.

These pierogi are completely vegan so don’t worry!

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We eat them during Christmas Eve dinner along with borscht with uszka (recipe here), carp in jelly, herrings in oil, vegetable-egg-mayo salad and cooked sauerkraut to name only a few dishes. As you can tell our dinner is (almost) completely vegetarian. However, I will be eating an all vegan Christmas Eve dinner this year. That is I will prepare some dishes without any animal products, for example I will make this vegetable-egg-mayo salad without eggs and with vegan mayonnaise.

For dessert we eat a lot of poppyseeds. Literally. Poppyseed cake, kutia (poppyseed with dried fruit, nuts and wheat grains), poppyseeds with pasta… and the list goes on. And this year it will be my first time ever making kutia. I am so excited! I am thinking also of making poppyseed cake… well, we’ll see.

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But let me tell you something more about pierogi. This dish is one of our most popular. If you ever happen to visit Poland, you have to try them. They come in many varieties: with cheese and potatoes, sauerkraut, minced meat, buckwheat, spinach… And let’s not forget about the sweet ones: white cheese, fruits… Actually, you can put anything you want into them, just use your imagination!

Pierogi with sauerkraut and mushrooms are sour and have a hint of “foresty flavour” if one can say so. This makes them a perfect Christmas dish in my opinion.

And the filling… it is to die for. No joke. I love sauerkraut in every form, cooked or raw, everything. And I couldn’t resist, I constantly nibbled at it while forming these beauties. If you love sauerkraut then definitely give it a try!

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Pierogi with sauerkraut and mushroom filling

These are our traditional polish pierogi for Christmas dinner. On that day we don’t eat meat, except for fish, hence these are meat-free. They are super delicious, especially if you are a sauerkraut freak like me! They are completely vegan and the fat content depends on how much you add to them while cooking.

Prep time: 6 hours
Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 6-7 hours
Serves ca.7

Ingredients:

Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour,
about 1 cup boiling water,
pinch of salt,

Filling:
½ kg sauerkraut
minimum 4 dried cep mushrooms
1 onion
oil
salt
6 corn allspice
10 black pepper corns
3-4 bay leaves
a pinch of ground cumin to taste
1 tsp thyme or to taste
1-2 tsp soy-mushroom sauce or to taste
1-2 tsp sugar to taste (if your sauerkraut is very sour then you might need to add more sugar)

Instructions:

1. Cut sauerkraut into bite size pieces and in the meantime heat oil in a saucepan.

2. Transfer the sauerkraut into the saucepan and throw in pepper, allspice and bay leaves. Pour in a little bit of water, cover and let it cook on small heat.

3. Add dried mushrooms into another saucepan, cover with water, add a bit of salt and bring to a boil, then cover and cook until tender.

4. Cut the onion into small cubes and fry until golden and fragrant. Add to the sauerkraut.

5. Season the sauerkraut with salt and sugar to taste, but remember to not overdose as we will be adding mushrooms and soy sauce later. It is better to add too little than too much.

6. Let everything stew until the mushrooms are tender but not too soft since they will be added to the sauerkraut and cooked with it. Take out a few mushrooms (keep the water!!!) and cut them into small cubes and add to the sauerkraut. If you think you need more, feel free to cut a few more and add them into the saucepan.

7. Let it stew for a few minutes and season to taste with soy-mushroom sauce, cumin, thyme, salt and sugar if too sour. When you’re satisfied with the taste cover and cook for about 30 more minutes or when the sauerkraut is soft and tender. If you find it to be too dry, add a dash of warm water, the best would the mushroom water. The sauerkraut should be cooked for total of about 2 hours.

8. When it’s done turn off the heat and let cool completely before assembling pierogi.

9. To make the dough: sift flour into a bowl, add a pinch of salt, mix and make a well in the centre. Gradually add boiling water and mix with a knife. When it is cold to touch use your hands to knead the dough. If it doesn’t come together add more hot water. Transfer onto a pastry board and knead. When it has a gummy like texture, but is neither too sticky nor too dry and all the flour is combined start rolling. It will be hard to roll out but if you work little by little, it will go smoothly. The dough should be very very thin, about 2-3 mm thick.

10. To make pierogi: Take a glass and cut circles from the dough. Take one circle and add about 1 tsp of the filling in the centre. Then fold it in half making sure to keep the filling in one place. Press the sides together to close it. If it doesn’t stick, spread a tiny bit of water on the edge of the circle and press together. You can leave it as it is, that’s what I did, but you can also get creative and make beautiful traditional designs. Have fun! Repeat until all of the dough is used up.

11. To cook pierogi: heat a big (depends on the amount of pierogi) pot of boiling water and add a pinch of salt and a dash of oil. When it comes to a boil throw in your pierogi and quickly stir, which will prevent them from sticking together. Cook them until they start to come up to the surface of water or for 3-5 minutes, then take them out with a draining spoon. Serve warm and topped with sautéed onion.

I hope you liked the post and the recipe. Stay tuned because more are coming up very very soon. These will be an “uszka” recipe and gingerbread cookies recipe ^^

Love
Adela

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