Food: Food for body; Christmas is one of the most beautiful and magical times. In Poland most of families will spend this time together preserving old Christmas traditions.
The Poles have many of them such as singing carols, eating 12 dishes (no meat or alcohol) on Christmas Eve, looking for the first star or going to a Midnight Mass. I would like to focus on one specific part : Polish pierogi (definitely ‘food for body’ part). Pierogi are one of the main dishes for Christmas Eve dinner. Although you can buy or order them the whole year round in Poland, there is something special about pierogi during Christmas time. I would like to share my experience and my grandmother’s recipe to encourage you to try to make them at home!
To those that haven’t heard about pierogi yet, these are dumplings with different fillings that one can eat as a savoury or sweet dish. Ingredients for dumplings dough and fillings are really simple: flour, water, eggs, cabbage, cheese etc. It is an ‘easy’ dish but really time consuming and needs some practise. I need to admit that this year was the first time I decided to try making pierogi myself. I was always scared of the preparation. Now, with a full confidence I can say if I could make them you can as well. And it is really worth it!
As mentioned before you can really get creative about the fillings. The most popular one are with mushrooms and cabbage; cheese, potatoes and onion or meat. Many likes a sweet opinion served with fruits (strawberry, blueberries) and cream fresh. Recently, you can try more ‘modern’ versions with spinach and feta cheese, tofu or chicken. Basically, whatever you like! The most traditional filling for Christmas is cabbage and mushrooms and this recipe I would like to share with you.
Ingredients for 80 pieces:
- 600 g wheat flour
- 250 ml warm water
- 2 eggs
- 3 spoons of olive oil
- a bit of salt
- 1kg of sauerkraut ( for Swedish readers: available in all supermarkets either in plastic bags or jars)
- 500 g of mushroom (champignons)
- 1 carrot
- oil for frying
- 2 onions
- salt and pepper
Fry mushrooms with onions. In the end add grated carrot. Rinse sauerkraut. In a separate pot slow cook sauerkraut in a glass of water in about 60 minutes. After cooking drain off all water from the sauerkraut. Mix mushrooms, onion, carrot, sauerkraut and salt with pepper. Smash it or cut on a very small pieces, mix and fry again everything together.
In a large bowl or on a table sift flour, pour warm water, add salt and eggs to blend it in. If the dough is too hard add more water. After 3-4 knead add the olive oil and knead 7 more minutes. You should form a soft and elastic dough. Put in a bowl (if it was on a table) and leave for 15-20 minutes covered with a cotton cloth. Divide the dough into 4 using a knife. On floured surface roll each portion. Next, make round pieces with a glass (as shown in the picture). Put the filling in the middle of each circle. Close it to form a half moon and squeeze dough together to secure the fillings inside. Master tip: check if the dough is glued firmly otherwise pierogi will open during the cooking!
Boil 1-2 liter in the pot. When water is boiling, add a tablespoon of salt, put slowly one by one pierogi in the water and stir the water slowly to avoid pierogi glueing to the bottom of the pot. Once the water is boiling again, reduce the heating. When pierogi are on the surface of the water, cook 4 minutes and ‘fish’ them up on a plate.
Bon appétit! Smacznego!