The Experiment. Polish Pierogi

Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the scar-faced kitten loving archenemy of 007 would have been rather partial to a batch of pierogi after a day of world domination. That’s if the prolific James Bond villain kept sight of his Polish roots. Pierogi – or Polish ravioli – are a type of dumpling that are somewhat a national treasure. Stuffed with a variety of sweet or savoury ingredients varying from a Bolognese-esque to a homely blackcurrant and ricotta, the half-moon dough shapes are only the beginning of these exciting treats.

This recipe is an example of a vegetarian – and therefore cash friendly – version of the Polish dish. When I took to making these dumplings I was suffering from a rolling pin deficit. I was later informed of the use of a wine bottle as an adequate substitute. Ill equipped cooks take note.

To make the dough:

1. Combine the flour, eggs, sour cream and half the water in a large bowl.
2. Sprinkle flour on your worktop and knead the mixture for 3-5 minutes. Use the dropping technique by lifting the mixture off the surface and dropping it repeatedly.
3. Put the dough in a large bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to prove for half an hour. It should double in size.
For the filling:
1. Boil the potatoes in salted water and mash.
2. Fry the onions, garlic and thyme in a good amount of butter and oil on a medium heat, until the onions have slightly caramelised.
3. Mix the onions in with the mashed potato and add in the cheese. Season to taste.

To make the Pierogi:

1. Roll out the proved dough on a floured surface until 1cm thin. If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a wine bottle.
2. Cut out circular shapes using the bottom of a wine bottle or a cookie cutter. The circles of dough should be just larger than the palm of your hand.
3. Holding a cut out of dough in your left hand, fill with a teaspoon of filling in the centre and then fold over the dough into a half moon.
4. Squeeze the folded ends of the dough until they merge, then create a crimp by pinching a bit of pastry with thumb and finger and folding to the left.
5. Boil 6 pierogis a go in a deep pan of boiling salted water. Leave aside to drain.
6. Fry the boiled pierogis in a shallow pan of hot oil, butter and a bit of thyme. Fry on both sides until golden brown and crispy. Serve with the sauce.

For the sauce:

The Experiment. Polish Pierogi. Melt the butter on a medium heat, and fry the garlic.
2. As the garlic becomes aromatic, stir in the flour to form a roux (paste). Stir for 30 seconds.
3. Slowly add in the chicken stock, and then the sour cream. Season with salt and white pepper.
4. Mix in the chives.
5. Pour the sauce over the Pierogi to serve.

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