Sunday, 11 April 2010

Meat Filled Pierogies with Mushrooms and Horseradish Cream!

This weekend I made my first pierogies! I am bursting with pride, and just plain bursting as they are quite filling too. Michael Symon's signature pierogies are made with beef cheeks - something that I couldn't find here (indeed the local butchers seemed to think it was something I made up, and all seemed to think I was talking about the other cheeks..) So I used the optional pork shoulder - which worked out perfectly as I had some in the freezer just waiting to be used anyway.
I tell you this recipe takes forever. But it is so worth it. Break it down, make the meat part the day before. I did mine in the slow cooker after being inspired by my buddy Joanne who is wise in these ways.
I sauteed the meat in a cast-iron pan, deglazed with the vinegar, and piled everything in the small slow-cooker for 6-7 hours on low - then put the whole thing in the fridge overnight. That really helped take some of the pressure off. I made the dough in the morning and let it chill for the day so that when it was time to actually make the pierogies I just had to reduce the sauce, shred the meat, roll and shape the dough, stuff and chill.
He doesn't mention chilling the shaped pierogies but I think it helps them keep their shape.
We cooked up about a third and froze the rest for future pierogi happiness.

And sautéing them? I say if butter is good, more butter is better.. and if more butter is better, more brown butter is best!

This is the tool that I used for shaping my pierogies. I tell you, I have a gadget for everything and I like it that way!

Sort of looks like it might bite you..

Michael Symon's Beef Cheek (pork shoulder) Pierogi

Chef Michael Symon starts out the recipe saying that if you can't find beef cheeks, you can use beef or pork shoulder.

Pierogi dough:

1 large egg

3/4 cup sour cream

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups all-purpose flour, more for rolling

Mix egg, sour cream, butter, chives and salt. Mix in flour thoroughly until dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours, up to two days.

For beef cheeks: (I used pork shoulder)

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 pounds beef cheeks, cleaned (or substitute beef or pork shoulder)

Salt and pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 red onion, sliced

1 carrot, peeled and sliced

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup red wine

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

2 cups chicken stock

To assemble:

4 tablespoons butter

Serve with:

Sour cream mixed with horseradish, chives, salt and pepper - to taste

Mushrooms to taste - I sauteed the mushrooms with lots of butter, shallot, garlic and fresh thyme, seasoned to taste. Give the shallots a head start.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season cheeks with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Cook in batches to brown, about 6 minutes. Remove from oil.

Heat onion and carrot in Dutch oven for about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add vinegar, wine, thyme, bay leaf and chicken stock and bring to simmer. Return cheeks to Dutch oven, cover, and braise in oven for 1 hour.

Lower oven temperature to 225 degrees and continue cooking for 4 more hours. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to 2 days.

Remove meat from liquid and shred the meat. Warm the liquid and strain out the vegetables. Boil the liquid until it reduces by two-thirds. Mix in shredded meat and allow to cool.

To assemble, roll out dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch rounds. Spoon 1 tablespoon of meat onto each round. Fold the dough over and seal the edges into a half-moon shape. Press edges with fork to seal.

Bring a pasta pot full of water to a boil. Add pierogi, 6 to 8 at a time, and cook until they float, then allow them to cook about 4 more minutes. Drain. In a large skillet, heat butter and saute pierogi in batches until they are brown. I threw in some baby spinach at the end for colour and extra nutrition.

Serve with sour cream mixed with horseradish, chives, salt and pepper, and sauteed mushrooms.

Makes about 2 dozen pierogi.

Source: Adapted from Live to Cook: Recipes and Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen by Michael Symon with Michael Ruhlman
as found published on the website -

Meat Filled Pierogies for Symon Sunday with Ashlee Wetherington