Blueberry Dumplings A.K.A Pierogi z Jagodami

Blueberry dumplings A.K.A. Pierogi z JagodamiPierogi are a traditional Polish meal. Usually they would be filled with potatoes and cheese, sauerkraut or minced meat but come summer time when fresh fruits are in abundance we like to make a sweet version and stuff them with which ever fruits we have… blueberries being my favourite choice.

The recipe below will make around 50 dumplings, it might sound like a lot but believe me once you actually start eating… it really isn’t all that many.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1/2kg flour
  • ~250ml warm water
  • 1tbsp melted butter
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • ~300g blueberries

For serving:

  • 250g double cream
  • Sugar; to taste

Method:

Wash and dry the blueberries; they need to be totally dry.

On a large flat surface place your flour; make a well in the middle and add the water, butter and salt. Use your hands to combine the ingredients and when it has formed knead the dough.

At first the dough will be very sticky but as you knead it will become a wonderful soft and playful dough and then you will know it is ready for rolling – you can view step by step pictures on how to make it here.

Take part of your dough and roll it flat; use a large round cookie cutter (or pint glass or a coffee mug) to cut out the round shapes.

Each round “pierogi” to be needs to be filled with around 1 teaspoon of blueberries. Make sure you pinch the end tightly so your creation doesn’t fall apart during the cooking process – again for step by step pictures on how to fill pierogi please see my Russian Style Dumplings post.

Once formed place your pierogi on a lightly floured surface until you are ready to start cooking.

You will need a large, and I really mean it… a large cooking pot, filled with water; ideally wide and not so high. Add a pinch of salt to your water and bring it to a boil.

Once the water is boiling gently place each pierogi in; just a few at the time so the water surface isn’t too crowded.

Allow them to boil for a few minutes – 2 or 3 should do the trick.

Once they swim to the top use a slotted spoon and fish them out.

Make sure that are dry before serving.

Serve with cream and sugar and enjoy a traditional Polish taste.

Blueberry dumplings – Pierogi z JagodamiHave you ever made pierogi at home?

If so, what is your favourite filling?

Foods Of The World – Poland – Kotlety Mielone – Polish Meatballs

Kotlety Mielone - Polish Meatballs

This time I will share a Polish recipe as a part of my little series: Foods Of The World.

Kotlety Mielone a.k.a. Polish Meatballs are extremely popular in Poland and are really quick and easy to make. They are usually eaten as a part of the dinner and are served with boiled potatoes and some cold salad like sauerkraut or pickled/boiled beetroots. That said they are actually not limited to being a dinner meal only. They are perfect as sandwich filling or even as part of a salad.

These particular meatballs were made from pork meat but any type of minced meat would be perfect. If you use chicken or turkey they will have a much more gentle taste obviously.

Let’s start with the ingredients list:

  • 750g minced pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 onion
  • 2 handfuls of breadcrumbs
  • Salt, pepper, garlic, sweet paprika to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • Fresh Spring onion (the green parts) – optional
  • 1tspb chilli flakes – optional

Method:

Peel and fine chop your onion. Fry it on a medium heat until just golden brown. Put aside to cool down.

In a large bowl place your minced meat, 1 egg, 1 handful of breadcrumbs, earlier fried onions and spice to taste.

Mix all the ingredients together until everything is well combined and you have an even looking mixture. Don’t be afraid to work it. This is nothing like the burgers where your meat shouldn’t be touched / poked / pressed too many times. Work it with your hands until the mixture becomes a bit sticky, when this happens you know you have mixed it well.

This recipe will make for 16 meatballs. I normally use half of the mixture to create 8 “standard” tasting meatballs and use the remaining half to make a spicier version by adding fresh chopped spring onions and chilli flakes for some additional heat.

Kotlety Mielone  Polish Meatballs Ready to be fried

Once your mixture is smooth (more or less) it is time to form our meatballs. Ideally you want them to be about the size of a small egg. But as they are going to be fried and not cooked in any sauce, it is best to flatten them with your palm to make a doughnut shape…. Once they are formed gently toss them around in the remaining breadcrumbs just to give them a final coating that will crisp up nicely when they are cooked.

Kotlety Mielone – Polish Meatballs Frying stage

Fry on a medium heat for about 15 minutes turning them over every few minutes. Make sure that your pan isn’t too hot and your meat balls do not brown too quickly. Time as always makes food taste divine.

Remove from the frying pan and serve.

Kotlety Mielone – Polish Meatballs Serving suggestion

They are great for freezing if you fancy making a bigger batch, but if you are planning on freezing them it is advisable to skip the onion part. They will last longer in the freezer without the onions.

Happy cooking and I hope you enjoyed this Polish recipe.

This is one extremely full dinner plate :-)
This is one extremely full dinner plate 🙂
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What’s Cooking – Russian style pierogi (dumplings)

Polish Pierogi Russian Style

Ohh, I love them. There was a time during my childhood when I did not want to eat anything else, just pierogi – Russian style, or with meat, cabbage and mushrooms or with cherries or strawberries… the possibilities were endless.

So what are pierogi?

This is what Wikipedia have to say on the topic:

Pierogi (Polish pronunciation: [pjɛˈrɔɡʲi]; juvenile diminutive form: Pierożki Polish pronunciation: [pjɛˈrɔʂki] also in use) are dumplings of unleavened dough – first boiled, then they are baked or fried usually in butter with onions – traditionally stuffed with potato filling,sauerkrautground meat, cheese, or fruit. Of central and eastern European provenance, they are usually semicircular, but are rectangular or triangular in some cuisines.

Pierogi are similar to the Russian pelmeni or Ukrainian varenyky and are not to be confused withpirozhki (the Russian word for stuffed fried buns) or a pirog (the Russian word for “pie”). Polish pierogi ruskie are similar to the Ukrainian varenyky in version with potatoes and cottage cheese (quark).

 

So how do you make them?

Pierogi are very easy to make, but quite time consuming.

You will need to make dough and some filling. This time let’s focus on Russian style pierogi, which means filled with potatoes and farmer cheese mix.

1kg of flour will make around 100 pierogi, yes that’s a lot, but they freeze very well.

We normally do the filling in proportions of 3:1 (three times more potatoes than farmer cheese).

Ingredients:

Filling: Dough:
1kg of potatoes 1kg of flour
0.33kg of farmer cheese Warm water
1 large onion Salt
Salt
Pepper Toppings:
2tbs of oil 2tbs of butter
1 large onion

First we need to make our filling.

  1. Clean the potatoes, cook, peel and mash
  2. Finely chop the onion and brown in cooking oil until golden, let it cool and add into potatoes
  3. Add farmer cheese
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix everything together

The filling is made at this point and we can now move on to making the dough.

And this is how you make it:

1.Add some flour into a big bowl. 0.25kg per batch as we will make 4 lots of dough. If you make all the dough in one batch, it will dry out and crumble by the time your half way through using it. 2.Add a little luke warm water into it
1. Add some flour into a big bowl. 0.25kg per batch as we will make 4 lots of dough. If you make all the dough in one batch, it will dry out and crumble by the time your half way through using it.
2. Add a little luke warm water into it
3.Start kneading and add more water if too dry
3. Start kneading and add more water if too dry
4.When you able to lift it, take the mixture out of the bowl and knead it some more
4. When you able to lift it, take the mixture out of the bowl and knead it some more
5.Keep kneading until you get a nicely formed smooth dough
5. Keep kneading until you get a nicely formed smooth dough
6.When you see something like this you are ready to start rolling
6. When you see something like this you are ready to start rolling
7.Roll out your dough until it is nice and thin
7. Roll out your dough until it is nice and thin

When your dough is well kneaded and rolled it is ready to be cut into shape. For this you will need a large cup or a pint glass or a cookie cutter. Just like this.

Cutting out my circles with a pint glass
Cutting out my circles with a pint glass

Now we have all the components we need to make / build our pierogi. We have our stack of nicely cut dough disks and our filling so it’s time to put them together.

This part may take some practice but I hope these pictures will help.

1.Place one circle of cut out dough on the palm of your left hand.  Add a spoon full of filling
1. Place one circle of cut out dough on the palm of your left hand.
Add a spoon full of filling
2.Bring two edges together and pinch the filling down to keep it central
2. Bring two edges together and pinch the filling down to keep it central
3.Bring the edges together and squeeze them tightly together
3. Bring the edges together and squeeze them tightly together
4.Taadaa you just made your 1st ever pierogi
4. Taadaa you just made your 1st ever pierogi
5.Now if you are feeling a little bit artistic  you can crimp the edges a little to make them look pretty
5. Now if you are feeling a little bit artistic
you can crimp the edges a little to make them look pretty
6.Place your pierogi on the tray sprinkled with flour  where they will await the boiling process
6. Place your pierogi on the tray sprinkled with flour
where they will await the boiling process

Now that we have made our prirogi let us quickly cook them before they totally dry out.

For this you will need a large cooking pot, filled with water, add some salt and bring it up to boil. Once boiling, gently place your pierogi in, just few at a time and cover with a lid. When they rise to the surface grab a slotted spoon and gently “fish them out”.

To fry or not to fry...
To fry or not to fry…

Finally ready to serve – ideally with onions browned in butter, unless you are Mark and hungry and cannot wait no longer…

Dinner time!
Dinner time!

Or you can let them to cool down if you want to serve them golden fried.

Enjoy!

 

Ahh just a few top tips:

  1. Remember don’t be tempted to make the dough in one big batch to save time, because in the end you won’t. The only exception to this tip is if you are part of a large family or have an army of little helpers.
  2. Never over boil them, as they will simply fall apart in the water
  3. To make them even more tasty, fry some meat pieces (bacon or pork belly is best) and add them on top of your golden fried pierogi
  4. Or if you like cheese (like Mark does) you can add some grated cheese on top of freshly golden fried pierogi, so it melts over them
  5. If you planning to freeze them, avoid adding onion into the filling, they will keep for longer