This is one of my favorite ways to use leftover meats or unpopular cuts. And, it is an exceptionally versatile trick to know. Shredded and seasoned then stuffed into dough, nobody will recognize their least favorite meat cuts or last night’s dinner.
Pierogi freeze extremely well for later use poached and drizzled with butter, poached in broth and served as soup, or baked and served as finger food. This dough also makes perfectly delicious, rustic egg noodles when rolled out and cut with a pizza cutter. Seriously – I love this recipe. Tender yet substantial, no dough bombs here.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (I use kosher)
2 TBS vegetable oil
A little beaten egg, to glaze (optional)
1/2 cup iced water
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and make a well in the center. Whisk the eggs with the oil and pour into the well in the flour. Using a wooden spoon, gradually draw in the flour, then work until smooth, adding just a trickle of iced water only if you need it. The dough should be fairly soft but not sticky.
Turn it out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil the bowl, put the dough back in, cover and leave to rest at room temperature for about an hour. Note: if you will be longer than an hour, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Unwrap and allow to return to room temp before using.
Meanwhile, make your filling. I most recently used Turkey Paprikash, but there are a million and one suggestions for using up other meats, veggies, potatoes and cheese.
Knead the dough again for a minute or two, then roll it out as thinly as possible (no more than 1/8 inch thick) and cut out rounds with a 3-inch cutter. Place a little filling on each one slightly to one side, then fold in half to make a tiny crescent, wetting the edges and pinching them together to seal. Make sure your filling is dry or the sauce will leak and prevent the edges from sealing.
To freeze, stop here. Arrange pierogi on a plate or cookie sheet so they are flat and do not touch. Put tray into the freezer until pierogi are completely frozen through. Then portion into freezer bags. I like to write cooking instructions on the bag in Sharpie so I don’t have to dig up the recipe later. Pierogi may be cooked straight from the freezer.
Cook three ways:
1. Bake: Lay the pierogi on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet, glaze with a little beaten egg (optional), and bake at 375F about 15 – 20 minutes, until golden brown. Sprinkle with paprika and serve with a dollop of sour cream. Perfect finger food, appetizer or light meal on the fly.
2. Poach: Poach the pierogi in very gently simmering water, a few at a time for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the dough is cooked through and doesn’t taste floury (taste one). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, then place in a warmed dish and trickle with melted butter. Sprinkle with a little paprika and serve with sour cream.
3. Poach in clear chicken, turkey or beef stock and serve as soup. The filling adds depth to the flavor of the stock making it sophisticated and rustic at the same time. Seriously delicious.
Bonus: This dough makes excellent noodles. Roll out exactly as for pierogi, but cut into irregular strips with a pizza cutter. Poach in gently boiling water or stock.