We were invited recently to a friend’s home for a wonderful home-cooked Polish / Bulgarian meal. There were loads of food including freshly cooked borscht (beetroot soup), melt-in-the-mouth grilled tenderloin, sauerkraut with smoked polish sausages, grilled peppers, cheeses, wine and vodka. Oh my, we were very full and happy that night.
While we were chatting about food (what else!) after the meal, conversations naturally veered towards Polish specialties and I mentioned that I wanted to try my hand at making pierogi – traditional Polish stuffed dumplings. My lovely hostess of the evening ran off to the kitchen and came out with a dumpling mold and she insisted I have it.
Now, I spent the entire week after that meal thinking about making pierogi. There are many different types of stuffing for pierogi – from sweet cheese and fruit versions to savoury meat and potato filled ones.
I chose to make sauerkraut pierogi as I love how the tart sauerkraut gives the dumplings that extra punch of flavour, and it complements the onion and bacon toppings. All sour, salty, buttery and very yum.
I prepared the sauerkraut overnight as advised by my friend as it matures and becomes more flavourful. Instead of making sauerkraut from scratch, I got hold of a 500g pack of the store bought stuff.
Sauerkraut with porcini
- 500g packaged sauerkraut (some of these needs to be rinsed out first before using as it can be super salty…check by tasting it first, I didn’t need to rinse mine out)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 bay leaves
- A handful of dried porcini (reconstituted with ½ cup of hot, boiling water)
- Freshly ground pepper
- A knob of butter
Melt butter in a heated pot, add onions and fry till soft and translucent. Add in sauerkraut, porcini and some of the soaking liquid. Mix well.
Add bay leaves, stir through and leave the covered pot to simmer on low heat for about 30 – 40 minutes. Add freshly ground pepper, leave the sauerkraut to cool off in the pot.
- 2 cups plain flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling dough
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 medium eggs
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup water
1. Place flour on a clean working surface. Make a well in the flour.
2. Mix eggs, sour cream, salt and water together and pour in the prepared well of flour.
3. With a fork, slowly work the flour in with the egg mixture until it becomes all clumped up.
4. With floured hands, knead the dough till it’s springy. Leave the dough to rest covered with a damp cloth for at least 30 minutes.
5. Cut the dough up in quarters, flour surfaces and rolling pin well, and roll out the dough till it’s nice and thin (about 1mm) Cut the dough into rounds (with a round cutter or in my case, I used the rim of a cup).
6. Fill the dumplings with sauerkraut. To ensure the edges of the dumplings are properly sealed, dab a little water around one side of the edge before pressing them together.
To cook the dumplings, fry up half a chopped onion in some butter, and throw in 8 rashers of bacon (chopped). Cook till bacon is crispy.
Boil the dumplings in a large pot of salted water. When the dumplings float to the surface, they’re cooked. Drizzle with butter, onion and bacon mix. Voila!