A Winning Recipe for Rye Pierogies

My 80-something year old (she wouldn’t appreciate me broadcasting her *exact* age) Polish grandmother was bursting with pride when I told her I won W.A. Frost’s “Be the Chef” contest. After all, it was her pierogies that were the inspiration for the dish. Growing up, she made hers the traditional way — simple white flour dough, potato and cottage cheese filling, fried in lots and lots of butter. Then put sour cream on top. Those were delicious, but I put a bit of a twist on them to fit Frost’s contemporary American fare and who I thought their clientele might be.

So, here it is — the recipe for Rye Pierogies that won W.A. Frost’s “Be the Chef” contest in April:

Rye Pierogies with Smoked Salmon, Yukon Gold Potatoes and Dill Creme Fraiche

2.5 cups all-purpose flour
2.5 cups rye flour
3/4 cup tepid water
6 egg yolks
3 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 – 1/4 tsp crushed caraway seeds (optional, add for extra “rye” taste)

6 Yukon Gold potatoes
1/8 cup small curd cottage cheese (optional, I believe the chefs at Frost left this out)
1 pkg smoked salmon (preferably wild-caught Alaskan salmon)
salt and pepper to taste

1 container creme fraiche
2 tb. fresh dill (more if you love dill taste)
8 cornichons (optional, for garnish)

8 tb. butter
4 tb. extra virgin olive oil

Pierogie dough: Sift flour together in large bowl, make well in center. Mix egg yolks and eggs in small bowl and pour into center of flour. Add salt and caraway, if using. Fold/cut eggs into flour with a fork adding water as needed. Knead dough with hands until firm. Form into ball. Set in bowl and chill 15-30 minutes. Lightly flour board, cut dough into several small portions and use a rolling pin or pasta machine to roll very thinly. If dough is sticky, lightly sprinkle with all-purpose flour. Using a pint glass (or glass of approximate size) cut dough into circles.

Filling: Cut potatoes into similarly sized pieces and place in boiling water until tender. Finely mash potatoes with ricer (leaving off skins), mix in salt and pepper. When potatoes have cooled slightly, mix in cottage cheese.

Sauce: Chop fresh dill and mix into creme fraiche. Chill until ready for use.

Assembly: Slice smoked salmon into small, thin slivers. Place 1-2 pieces of salmon in the middle of a dough circle. Place approximately 1 tsp. potato/cheese filling on top of salmon. Fold dough over filling (in half) and pinch ends together with fingers then seal with a fork. Boil a large pot of water, add salt and drop pierogie into water. Cook for 3-4 minutes until tender. Remove with strainer. Add butter and oil to saute pan and brown pierogie — 2-3 minutes per side. Sprinkle hot pierogie with salt and pepper, add a dollop of dill creme fraiche. Thinly slice cornichon for garnish. Serve hot. Makes approximately 36 pierogie.

You can make the pierogies ahead of time and freeze or refrigerate before boiling or make and boil the pierogies then refrigerate for a few hours before frying and serving.

Copyright 2011 LMK Morioka

The chefs at W.A. Frost made a fabulous interpretation of the dish and even the 8-year old nephew and 4-year old niece loved them! Enjoy in good health and know that both my grandma and me are smiling every time you take a delicious bite.


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