Santa’s elves update Christmas perogies

pirogis

New kitchen tools make it easier to cook perogies from scratch.

Traditional foods…

How perfect is this for Christmas? Everyone’s traditions are different, but for us, it isn’t Christmas without perogies. For a personal twist, I make mine green and red.

My natural food colors have been disappointingly dull. But Stefan’s Gourmet Blog  has inspired me to make improvements.

I’d never kid you into thinking they’re easy to make, though. It takes two enthusiastic cooks a day to whip up a batch of 120 or so pieces from scratch. And it’s true you can get them in the frozen-food section of the grocery store.

But if you buy them, you can’t get red or green ones. And you can’t make sure only the family’s favorite foods go into the stuffings. And you miss out on happy times in the kitchen with your children, making delicious food. So once a year, we go all out and make them ourselves.

A modern twist

Each year we learn a little something new to simplify perogy-making. This year we had a momentous break-through. We enlisted the aid of a lasagna maker to roll the dough out super thin. Goodbye rolling pin and sore shoulders!

Look how super thin we got the dough, using the lasagne maker.

Look how super thin we got the dough, using our lasagna maker.

Last year we introduced Kristina’s Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, to knead the dough. The soft elastic dough was full of gluten to hold our little packages together as they rolled around in a pot of boiling water.

Dough is kneeded, wrapped in plastic, and chilled in the fridge for at least 50 minutes, to allow the gluten to firm up.

Dough is kneaded, wrapped in plastic, and chilled in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Coloring our perogies

The year before that, we used the blender to puree the veggies that we used to color our dough with Christmas cheer. But in those days, we strained the puree and used only the colored water in the dough. We reserved the solids for the stuffings.

This year, we followed Stefan’s advice and used the solids as well as the liquid in the dough. The colors remained vibrant, just like he promised. The puree was fine enough that we didn’t end up with little bits of veggie in the dough. Plus, we pumped up the antioxidants in our annual Christmas fare by adding the colored veg.

This year’s perogies are just perfect!

Roasting red peppers

For the red perogies, I roasted some red peppers. Boiled beets work well too.

Rub two large red sweet peppers with canola or coconut oil (because they  withstand high temperatures).  broil them until the skins are black and blistered all over and the flesh sags (about half an hour). Turn them every 5 minutes or so with long-handled tongs.

When they’re done, put them into a brown paper bag and roll the top closed, so they cool down in their own steam. Wait at least 30 minutes, so the skin comes off easily.

Carefully remove all the seeds and the skin. Puree the roasted flesh in a blender and drain the liquid off. Save the solids for the dough.

Pureeing spinach

For the green ones, I pureed fresh young raw spinach. The spinach is simply washed, then pureed in the blender and measured out.

We puree fresh young spinach leaves to color the dough green.

We puree fresh young spinach leaves to color the dough green.

Measuring the modern way

Using a digital kitchen scale is the modern way  to measure ingredients accurately. Good bye measuring cups and measuring spoons!

Accurate measuring is especially important for pastry. If you don’t own one of these useful gadgets, you might have to add more flour as you knead to get the right consistency – not sticky, but not overly dry. Like Goldilocks’s porridge, it has to be just right.

All these wonderful time-saving tools at our fingertips… wouldn’t Mrs. Patmore have loved them in the kitchen at Downton Abbey?

Check out my next post, where the recipe is unveiled in all its glory. Merry Christmas preparations, from Vinny and the family, with love!

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. janderoo92
    Jan 15, 2015 @ 12:35:14

    Thanks you for chronicling this process, Sharon! I am looking forward to making pierogies, with your guidance, as a big culinary adventure of 2015!

    Reply

  2. StefanGourmet
    Dec 31, 2014 @ 05:26:25

    Thanks for the link. Did you actually roll out dough with a rolling pin before? Kudos! For me a stand mixer to knead the dough has been a recent but very helpful improvement, but I’ve always used a pasta machine to roll out the dough.

    Reply

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