Polish Pierogi – ”ravioli” of eastern Europe :)

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Pierogi are one of the foundations of polish cuisine. They’re basically ravioli, but the dough doesn’t  need any eggs. The filling can be whatever you like.. traditionally you use beef and cabbage.. for christmas we make a vegetarian version with mushrooms and cabbage.. but there are many other like white cheese,potatoes and onions..or evern fruit- blueberries or strawberries are the most popular.

Today I’ll show you a recipe for the ones I like the most- with braised beef and cabbage. They’re simply delicious. As simple as the recipe is- it takes a long time to cook, so prepare the filling a day in advance. You can also freeze it and use it whenever you need it.

For about 45 pierogi you will need:

700g of braising beef

2 onions- chopped

400g of sauerkraut

About 300g of white cabbage- shredded

Salt, pepper, sugar to taste

White wine vinegar

Some garlic powder

3 tbsp of butter

For the dough:

About 800g of plain flour

Salt

About 200-250ml of hot water

So, start by boiling the beef in water. Use about 3-4l of cold water, 2-3 beef stock cubes, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1 large leek. Cut the vegetables into halves and place in the water. Cut your beef into large chunks ( 10x5cm) and place in the water. Don’t salt it. Bring up to a boil and cook for about 3-3,5 hours until the meat is very tender and basically falling apart on it’s own.

Remove the meat from the stock and let it cool down.  As the meat cools down , chop the onions and fry them off until golden, then add chopped sauerkraut and cabbage. Add a dash of water, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of sugar. Cook for about 1-1,5 hour, adding water and butter in between, so the cabbage braises. By the end the cabbage should be cooked down, very soft and flavoursome. Season to taste at the end, and add the vinegar.

Chop your beef very finely, it’s very soft so it shouldn’t be an issue, it should be falling apart into strands. Then add the beef into the cabbage and mix. Add 2-3 ladles of the beef stock and let it cook out. Check the seasoning in the end. Add a really good amount of black pepper and a teaspoon of garlic powder.That’s your filling.

For the dough simply put your flour in a big bowl, add the salt and start adding water bit by bit, seeing how much it needs. Sometimes it needs more and sometimes less, so don’t add all the water at once..just add it gradually. Once you feel you have enough water to form a soft dough, start kneading , and continue doing so for about 15 minutes,until the dough is smooth,stretchy and soft. Then roll it out onto a flouered surface, cut out circles using a glass, put a good teaspoon of the filling in, fold in half and press the edge down with a fork.

Put your pierogi into simmering , salted water, they will take about 1-2 minutes max to cook, then take them out and serve them with some crisped up lardons on a flat plate, or with some of the beef stock in a bowl. They’re delicious either way 😉

Enjoy!

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