pierogi5This can’t get any more traditional. Polish pierogi with meat, sauerkraut and dry wild mushrooms.
I also like the non meat version or the ones with potatoes and cheese and I can’t actually decide which are my favorites. Growing up, my mom would make those more often because she would always have some leftover meat from Sunday chicken soup, not to mention dried mushrooms that she hand picks every year in the fall, or home-made sauerkraut that she usually makes in a large jar starting early Fall.
They might seem time consuming, but once you make that one large batch, they freeze well and they taste pretty great fried, especially with some bacon.  If the amount of pierogi seems a little too much, then use half of the ingredients.  But it’s almost impossible to have too many pierogi. :)

Serving: 12
Preparation of dough: 5 minutes, plus 20 minutes resting time of the dough
Cooking Dumplings: 10 minutes
Preparation of filling: 1h 30 minutes, including cooking mushrooms for 1 hour

Ingredients for dough (makes approx 120 dumplings)
4 cups of flour
2 cups of warm water
2 tablespoons of canola oil
1 egg
Pinch of salt

Ingredients for filling
2 ½ oz/70 g of dried wild mushrooms
1lb8oz/approx 700g of cooked chicken meat, ground
2lb3oz/1kg of sauerkraut
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of canola oil
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of pepper
More salt and pepper for taste

I use chicken meat that I had frozen after previously using it to make chicken stock, which is free in batches. So I defrost it first the day before I start making pierogi. If you don’t have that kind of meat, boil some chicken breasts in water with some salt and pepper.
In a medium size sauce pan, add the dry wild mushrooms with4 cups of water. Bring it to boil and cook it on low-medium heat for 1 hour. Or you can soak the mushrooms in water overnight without boiling.
Heat 3 tablespoons of canola oil in a large pan and add the chopped onion. Cook it for 15 minutes on medium heat until soft and golden. Let it cool down.

When you have the meat and mushrooms ready put them in the grinder. Once ground together transfer them to a large bowl.
Put the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse it under a stream of water for about 1 minute. Squeeze it and prepare a chopping board. Get a handful of sauerkraut and make sure you squeeze out the excess of water and sour juices with your hands. Chop it thoroughly and transfer to the bowl with meat and mushrooms.  Once you chop the rest of the kraut mix all the ingredients together and add salt and pepper.
Add the fried onion. Taste it and decide if you would like to add more salt or pepper.
Put it aside and start preparing the dough.

dough ingredients3
Transfer the flour onto the working surface, sprinkle some salt, make a well and add the egg and canola oil inside the well. Start adding the warm water and mix the dough. Work it out slowly adding the water as needed. The kneading will take you few minutes and the dough will be very soft and elastic thanks to the warm water and oil.
dough batch
Cut the dough into 4 batches and cover them with plastic wrap and let them rest for about 20 minutes.

Assembling pierogi
Start rolling out the first piece of dough. Keep the other one in the plastic wrap or kitchen towel.
cut dough
With this dough I don’t mind rolling out the old fashioned way because the dough is so flexible and soft that it’s a pure pleasure. Roll it out to a large circle of approximately…. Inches. Using a 4 inch cookie cutter, cut out circles. You should get approximately 20 cut outs. Reuse the remaining dough from this batch and knead it all together again. Roll it out again and keep cutting out circles. This one should give you 10 more circles.
fill pierogi2
Place a tablespoon of the filling in the middle of the cut circle.
kolaz foldingFold it together using some water to seal the edges if the ends don’t want to stick. It may happen due to an excess amount of flour or if you keep the circles uncovered and the dough dries out.
kolaz waving
Make waves of braids using your thumb, index finger and middle finger.
Play with the folding process and shape them the way you like it. If it’s too difficult you can always use a fork.
Repeat the same steps with the remaining 3 batches of dough. Cover the dumplings with a kitchen towel if you are waiting for the water to boil. You don’t want them to dry out.
Bring some water to boil in a large pot. Add 2 tablespoons of salt. Transfer the first batch of dumplings to the boiling water. Wait few seconds until they come out to the surface and boil them for 2 minutes. Take them out with a spider spoon and cook the next batches of the dumplings.
Heat a large pan and add 3-4 slices of diced bacon and sear it four couple of minutes. If there is not enough fat melting out add either 4 tablespoons of canola oil or duck fat.
Sprinkle the bacon and fat over the cooked batches of pierogi. This will prevent them from sticking when waiting.

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