The Story of Cooking - L & L Blog
When my mother cooked for the five of us, she made enough for an army and we never ceased to tease her about it. But she was smart. Leftovers saved her time, and provided a guarantee that no guest left hungry. And we weren't kidding anyone; every morsel was gobbled up.
Side note: I rolled out some dough, and Abraham Lincoln appeared, per below.
As we all adjust to the new normal, many of us find ourselves in the kitchen more than usual. The results have been tantalizing on social media, and it's a shame we can't score invites. When life does pick back up again, how nice would it be to have homemade goodies stashed in the freezer for a later time?
Some of you may not have a deep freezer or a vacuum sealer. Some of you may not have room in you freezer as it is. But you know the one thing everyone does have? Leftovers.
The Italians have made a cozy home for their chopped up leftovers, with frittatas. I like making tacos from leftovers, even cheesy casseroles. But when I found myself with leftover pierogi dough, I thought, why not make inventive pierogies? Here's a recipe for the dough.
Rule #1: Make sure your filling stands on its own. Make it zesty, because if it's bland, the outer shell will only dull the flavor.
Rule #2: Be sure the filling packs together, so not to break apart the dumpling while boiling.
Rule #3: Regardless of fillings, be sure to follow the pierogi recipe as far as the dough and cooking instructions.
Rule #4: Have fun!
My leftover chicken needing sprucing before stuffing into the pierogi, so I tossed it into the food processor with kimchi. After boiling and draining the pierogis, I pan-seared them in sesame oil and soy sauce, so they were crispy and caramelized. Another recipe included roast beef, which I shredded and mixed with cilantro, caramelized onions and white pepper. The possibilities are endless, especially when you consider dipping sauces.
So go ahead and cook too much - great things will come of it.
If there's one thing more comforting than carbs, it's carbs stuffed with carbs. And if that weren't comforting enough, you top it off with sour cream. Pierogies do for your soul what chicken soup claims to do.
Perhaps it's because each pierogi is made by hand with care. If you gather a small group of friends to make them together, the whole experience, from creation to consumption, is special.
Our Ukrainian friend Kristy guided a small group of us through her family recipe, with a filling of goat cheese, potatoes and farmer's cheese. It's heaven. But you can get inventive with fillings. My husband had made sloppy joes from scratch, and I smashed them with baked potatoes for a hearty, meaty filling. We spent hours laughing, storytelling and eating our way through a ridiculous amount of food.
Here are some ways to make it, as my friends say, "a whole vibe":
- This is a rainy day activity. If it's warm and sunny out, especially in winter months, soak it up while you can. Pierogi-making is for when you want to avoid blustery weather and hunker down in comfort.
- If you're going to make pierogies, do it in bulk. It's such a labor-intensive recipe, it's best to roll up your sleeves, hit your stride and make them en masse. They freeze beautifully.
- Invite three to four friends so it's intimate, but still a little factory-like, so you can belt out the goods. Play music in the background, light candles, and serve a wintry cocktail. Since you will undoubtedly be snacking on pierogies all day, put out a spread out with different types of food, like crudite and hummus and a charcuterie board.
- Make sure you are fully-stocked with rollings pins, trays, a stock pot and a comfortable outfit that you don't mind having covered in flour.
There's something therapeutic about working with your hands. Therapy has never been so delicious.