Potato Cheddar Pierogi

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Pierogi are Polish dumplings which consist of a filling (usually potato, but there are many varieties) wrapped in dough, that is then boiled and pan fried. They are insanely good. Even though you can make these with anything from sauerkraut to blueberries and cream cheese, I decided on the traditional route of a potato and cheddar filling topped with a creamy whole-grain mustard sauce. Major noms.

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This is definitely a weekend project that takes about 2.5 hours, but the raw dumplings are very easy to freeze and use later. If you’re a fan, I definitely recommend calling in the troops, putting them to work on making a double batch, and freezing some for a later date that you can throw on the table in a few minutes. I would recommend using one of these, since they are a major time saver and a total god send when it comes to making your life easier.

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Potato Cheddar Pierogi

Adapted slightly from All Recipes

Makes about 54

Dough
4.5 c flour
2 t salt
2 cups sour cream
2 T butter, melted
2 T vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
Filling
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
2-3 t salt, to taste
Sauce
2 shallots, diced fine
2 T oil
1 c white wine
1 c heavy cream
3-4 T whole grain mustart
S & P to taste

Place the potatoes in a large pot with just enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender. Drain, mash, and mix with the cheese and salt. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, make the dough. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Separately, whisk together the sour cream, melted butter, oil, eggs, and egg yolk. Add to the flour and stir to combine, then cover with a dish towel for 15-20 minutes.

Place a large pot of water (does not need to be filled to the top, just halfway) over medium heat while you make the dumplings.

When the dough is ready, remove half from the bowl and place on a floured surface. Roll to 1/8″ thick and cut 4-5″ circles with a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass. Place the dough rounds on the dumpling press (or just use your hands if you don’t have one), place a rounded teaspoon-sized dollop of filling in the center, moisten the edges of the dough with water, and press shut. If you don’t have a press, use a fork to seal them tightly. Lay the dumplings in a single layer (not touching) on a baking sheet covered with a dish cloth. I would highly recommend setting up an assembly line for this process, or else it will take you much, much longer.

When the dumplings are ready, make the sauce. Heat a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the oil and, when hot, toss in the shallots. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft and starting to brown. Add the wine, reduce for a few minutes until you only have a few tablespoons of liquid left, then reduce the heat and slowly whisk in the cream. Remove from heat, whisk in the mustard and salt, taste for adjustments, and set aside.

Now, make sure the pot of water is boiling and preheat your oven to warm. Place a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat with 1-2 T of oil. Working in batches (my skillet could hold about nine pierogi at a time), place the pierogi in the boiling water. When they rise to the top (3-4 minutes), remove with a slotted spoon, shake off the extra moisture, and add to the hot skillet. This part gets a little messy with the oil, so be careful! I had about 5 or 6 batches and the pan got overheated a few times, so I reduced it with wine, cleaned it a bit with a paper towel, and proceeded. The show must go on! When the pierogi are brown on both sides (they will release from the bottom of the pan fairly easily when they are brown enough, so try not to force them or they will rip open), place on an oven-safe plate and put in the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest. This process took me about 30 minutes to get through all of them– when I added the boiled ones to the skillet, I put more in the pot of water. This helped speed things along and get them into my belly faster.

When they are all golden brown and delicious, serve warm with lots of sauce. Nomnomnomnomnomnom

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In-N-Out Animal Style Potato Wedges

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Oh. Good. Lord. If this doesn’t have crack written all over it more than crack itself does, then you can slap me. In the face. Because I just had the most delicious ride on the tasty train and let me tell you: I am buying another round trip ticket.

I will also be purchasing some stretchy, elastic-waistband pants to accommodate my soon-to-be mammoth size. I can smell the glory now.

I didn’t want to do animal style fries or a burger, and potato wedges sounded so…hearty. Because that’s what this meal needed– more substance. And boy….mission accomplished.

Make extra onions or else you’ll be fighting over the last morsels (1 onion per person). This recipe makes enough of everything for 3-4 people.

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In-N-Out Animal Style Potato Wedges

sauce recipe from Serious Eats

6 slices American cheese
Sauce
2.5 T mayo
1 heaping tablespoon ketchup
3 t sweet relish
1/2 t white vinegar
1/2 t sugar
Onions
3 large yellow onion, diced very fine
2 t vegetable oil
Potato wedges
3 large Russet potatoes
1 T salt

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and salt and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to cook, about 25-30 minutes, until brown and starting to really caramelize. Add 1 T water and cook off (about 1 minute), until the onions are melty. Do this a few times.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425. Scrub the potatoes, cut into wedges (cut each in half, then 4 wedges per half), and soak in water for 10 minutes. Dry completely a with paper towel, place on a baking sheet, and toss with the oil and salt. Bake for 20 minutes with a cut-side down, flip, and bake another 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients. When the potatoes and onions are done, layer on an oven-proof ceramic plate:

  1. Potatoes
  2. Cheese
  3. Onions

Place that back in the oven and heat until the cheese starts to melt, a couple of minutes. Add a few dollops of sauce on top and serve immediately. Sit back and watch the smiles pour in from your audience of admirers.

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Beet and Potato Pancake

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My coworker sent me this last week and it’s sad how close it hit home. I love potatoes. Like, LOVE them. More than so many things. My boss is scared to even look at french fries when I am nearby, because he knows I will fly into a rage if anyone touches them.

I think I have a problem.

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Oh, well! Better happy with a potato, than normal and sad without one.

The true name of this dish is roesti. It’s basically a gigantic plate of hashbrowns, but Cook’s Illustrated gave me a lovely variation that I used for inspiration. They added beets, but I one-upped them with the further addition of celery root (aka, the unsung hero of the underworld…get it? Because it’s a root?…Screw you guys, I’M laughing).

I paired it with some goat cheese and horseradish sauce, fried shallots (clutch), maple-cayenne pecans (make extra, for insanely good snacking), and arugula salad. DIVINE.

Make sure to keep the heat on the medium-low side of things, so that you don’t burn the bottom. The pieces all went very well together and I would definitely recommend this as a complete meal, but if you just go with the roesti I think you’ll still be quite happy. I have visions of this with a poached egg for breakfast. Mmmm.

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Potato and Beet Pancake

inspired by Cook’s Illustrated

For the pancake:

3/4 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 small celery root, peeled and shredded
3 medium beets, peeled and shredded (I used both red and gold)
1/4 c finely diced scallions
salt and pepper
6 T butter

For the horseradish sauce:

3 T horseradish
1/2 c goat cheese
3 T sour cream
pepper

For the pecans:

1 c pecans
1/2 cayenne pepper
enough maple syrup to coat the pecans (approx. 1/8-1/4 c)

Fried shallots (fry at a low heat in peanut oil for best flavor)

Arugula salad (I went with a lemon-dijon-honey dressing)

For the pancake, mix the shredded potatoes, celery root, and beets together in a bowl with the salt and pepper. Melt 4 T butter in a large cast-iron pan over medium-low heat. When hot, press the potato mixture in until you have a pretty compact cake. You may need to move the pan around over the heat, so that the pancake is evenly browned. After about 15 minutes, loosen the pancake with a spatula, place a plate over the top, and invert onto the plate. Add the remaining 2 T butter to the pan and melt, then slide the pancake back into the pan to cook on the other side. Brown another 15 minutes.

For the horseradish sauce, simply mix everything together in a bowl.

For the pecans, spray a baking sheet with oil and then mix the pecans, syrup, and cayenne together on top. Spread out into a single layer and bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

To assemble, place a wedge of the pancake on a plate, dollop on some horseradish sauce, sprinkle with the fried shallots, toss the arugula salad in with some pecans, and enjoy the heck out of one fine meal, you sexy son of a B.

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