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 – Gołąbki (Cabbage Rolls)

Cabbage Rolls

Gołąbki (go-vam-bki) or to make it more understandable “cabbage rolls” are one of the traditional Polish dishes. They are easy to make, though quite time consuming, but they are well worth it.

So let’s start with your ingredients list:

Gołąbki: Tomato sauce:
–      800g of mince meat –      4 tsp of tomato paste
–      600g of rice –      4 tsp of flour
–      1 x large onion –      2 tsp of butter
–      Lots of large cabbages 🙂 –      1 cup of sour cream
–      Salt –      1 x onion
–      Pepper –      2 cups of bullion (stock)
–      Paprika –      Salt
–      Cooking oil –      Pepper
–      Sugar

 

Let’s start with the tomato sauce as this is the easy part.

Chop your onion. Brown it in the butter until transparent, add bullion and tomato paste. Cook on low heat. Whisk in the cream and flour to make it thicker. To finish add salt, sugar and pepper to taste.

 

Now that we have the sauce out of the way, let’s start on gołąbki itself.

Step 1 – Getting the cabbage ready

This is the tricky part. In Poland we have huge, football like cabbages, but in the UK all I can find are small young ones, with little leaves. So depending on how many gołąbki you want to make, you may need to get quite a few of them. We bought 8 ;-). As they are young and quite soft, it should be easy to remove the outer leaves, be very careful though not to damage them.

Seperating the leaves
Seperating the leaves

If there is a problem with separating the leaves an alternative method is as follows…

Take a huge cooking pot and boil some water in it. Remove the core from your cabbage. Take the entire cabbage and place it into the pot. This should help with leaf separation, they will just start detaching themselves one by one. As the leaf separates from the cabbage remove them and put aside for now. Work the cabbage until all bigger leaves are off. Do not throw any leaves, even the smallest one can be put to use later on.

Seperating the leaves in boiling water
Seperating the leaves in boiling water

Once you have separated all your cabbages, you should be left with a pile of nicely separated leaves. Now place them all back into your huge pot of boiling water and cook briefly (2-3 minutes). This part is important; it will soften the cabbage leaves and help later on with the rolling. Once cooked remove from the water and allow to drain. Now we have to remove the thick part of the main vain from every leaf. At this stage our cabbage is now ready for rolling.

Cutting off the thick stem
Cutting off the thick stem

Step 2 – Filling

Boil the rice until just tender, strain and put aside. Brown finely chopped onions and add your mince meat and fry till browned. Once all three ingredients are cooked mixed them together and add the spices – salt, pepper, paprika or anything else you might desire.

Getting your meat ready
Getting your meat ready
Mixing the filling
Mixing the filling
Filling for the cabbage rolls
Filling for the cabbage rolls

Step 3 – Creating your Gołąbki

Take one cabbage leaf and place a few spoons of filling into the middle. Roll sides of cabbage to make a tight parcel – please see pictures below; hopefully they will help with this task.

How to create your cabbage rolls
How to create your cabbage rolls

Step 4 – Filling The Cooking Pot

Our gołąbki will cook for a few hours, but we cannot just drop them into an empty pot. We have to make it ready.

Preparing the pot
Preparing the pot

Take a big cooking pot (a stock pot is ideal) and place some of damaged, too small or just spare leaves on the bottom. Make sure that the bottom of the pot is nicely covered with cabbage leaves; this will protect our gołąbki from burning later on. Place your ready rolled gołąbki on the cabbage bed. Pack them tight, one by one, and work your way up.

Filling the pot
Filling the pot

Once the whole pot is filled or you run out of filling cover the top of the gołąbki in your pot with yet another layer of spare cabbage leaves.

Covering the top layer before final cooking
Covering the top layer before final cooking

Add about 1 litre of salted water or stock, so they can cook in something. Cook for about 2 hours. When tender discard the leaves from the top and serve.

All done and ready to serve NOM NOM NOM!
All done and ready to serve NOM NOM NOM!

They taste best hot smothered in the sauce we made earlier!

They can be served on their own or with a tomato sauce or with potatoes. They also taste good the next day, just warm them up in a frying pan with a little stock or the sauce on a gentle heat till hot throughout.

So what do you think of them?