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Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category

postheadericon Pickled Pig’s Feet

I have had several requests for “Pickled Pig’s Feet” which is actually different than the Souse recipe  on this site, even though some people refer to Souse as “pickled pig’s feet”. This is an old recipe and I make no guarantee to it’s success – it is not something in my regular repertoire. Pickled Pig’s Feet are available commercially prepared with Hormel being a recognized brand, but many Coal Region and Pa Dutch country folks have access to great markets and butchers who can supply fresh pigs’ feet and prefer to make their own. This recipe is from Oxmoor House Homestyle Recipes

Pickled Pig’s Feet

Pickled Pig’s Feet

Pickled Pigs' Feet

Ingredients

  • 4 pig's feet, cleaned and scraped
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 bay leaves (1 leaf used in 2 different places)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 12 whole cloves

Instructions

  1. Place pig's feet in a large container with cold water to cover. Soak 3 hours; scrub with a stiff brush. Rinse thoroughly.
  2. Combine pig's feet, onion, celery, 1 bay leaf, salt, and pepper in a large Dutch oven with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 3 hours or until meat is tender and separates from bones.
  3. Remove feet from cooking liquid with a slotted spoon. Place in a plastic, glass, or stainless steel container with a tight-fitting lid; set aside.
  4. Strain cooking liquid through a sieve; discard vegetables and bay leaf. Set cooking liquid aside to allow fat to rise to surface. Remove fat, and discard. Set cooking liquid aside.
  5. Combine vinegar, cloves, and remaining bay leaf in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Add reserved cooking liquid, and bring to a boil.
  6. Pour vinegar mixture over pig's feet to completely cover. (Additional water may be added to cover pig's feet, if necessary. ) Set aside to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours.
  7. Remove pig's feet from vinegar mixture; serve cold.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/12/10/pickled-pigs-feet/

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postheadericon Souse

Souse is a variety of head cheese found in Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine. Head cheese is not a dairy product but rather a product made from (tah dah…) the head of an animal (usually pig or calf) along with some other left-over “scraps” that remain after butchering and often include the feet, tongue, and heart.  In a frugal household or in peasant cultures, no part of an animal that can be used is left go to waste. Pa Dutch and Coal Region favorites such as scrapple make use of “everything but the oink”.  Head cheese itself, however, is not specific to the Pa Dutch culture, but rather can be found in various cuisines across the US and globe including Caribbean and Eastern European.

The word SOUSE itself probably comes from the Germanic souce, or pickling juice, which is related to sulza, or brine. Think of souse as head cheese with vinegar added.  The traditional way to make head cheese is to simmer an animal’s head, which is very bone dense, for several hours which will then yield the bounty of rich gelatin needed to produce headcheese/souse. This gelatinous broth binds the meat together to form a terrine-like product usually in the shape of a loaf.  These days, if you find yourself without the source of a pig’s head because, well, say you gave up butchering your own animals when you took that IT job and moved to the heart of San Francisco, there’s good news. You can use some other parts to make this version of souse; pigs’ feet! In fact, some people refer to this dish as “pickled pigs’ feet”. A good butcher shop – or if you are blessed to live in Pa Dutch country, the area farmers’ markets – will often provide you with a source for the un-smoked pig’s feet. Some grocery stores with their own butcher on staff may also be able to get them for you. This may not be a recipe you can make from items you normally find at the corner store in many places, but this page is dedicated to presenting authentic recipes for the foods we know and eat in the Coal Region and in Pa Dutch households, so I present it to you from my Coalcracker Kitchen. (Many deli meat producers in the Pa region make Souse or Head Cheese commercially and you can try it that way from the supermarket deli. Distribution may vary widely, so calling your local market first is always a good idea.) Head cheese and souse are typically served cold or at room temperature. If in loaf form, they are sliced and served, as with cold cuts, on a sandwich or as an appetizer along with cheese and crackers. NOTE: This recipe is taken directly as published in “200 Healthy Amish Food Recipes” by Lev Well

 

Souse or Pickled Pig's Feet

Souse or Pickled Pig's Feet

Pa Dutch Souse

Ingredients

  • 4 pigs' feet
  • 1 cup chopped pickles
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups stock
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon broken cinnamon stick

Instructions

  1. Scrape and clean feet well and put on to boil in enough salt water to cover. Simmer for approximately four hours or until meat separates from the bones.
  2. Mix stock in which meat was cooked with vinegar, salt, pepper, and spices. Bring to the boiling point and hold for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain liquid to remove spices.
  4. Place pieces of meat and chopped pickle in a flat dish or stone jar and pour the sour liquid over it. (Coalcracker kitchen note: A loaf pan works well, too.)
  5. Chill in refrigerator until perfectly cold.
  6. Slice and serve.

Notes

From a Coalcracker in the Kitchen: You can also form this by pouring it into a loaf pan. Excess fat can be skimmed off the top surface once completely cold. You can also add one or two mild red cherry peppers, de-seeded and cut up along with the pickles (often found in the pickle section of your grocery store).

http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/12/09/souse/

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postheadericon Schnitz un Knepp

Schnitz und Knepp is quintessential Pennsylvania Dutch; an old recipe, the name translates to “Apples and Buttons”.  The dish consists of schnitz (dried apples), ham, and knepp (the dumplings or “buttons”). It gets its “sweet/sour” flavor from the tart apples and the brown sugar in the broth. Not difficult to prepare, it does take some time due to the cooking of the ham piece and the soaking of the dried apples, but both those steps can occur mostly simultaneously.  Cool weather season is a great time to make this dish, but it is certainly enjoyable year round!  If you do not want to make dumplings from scratch, you could use a baking mix and make the dumplings using the recipe on the box. I encourage you to make the scratch version though. In some areas of Pa Dutch country, you will find schnitz un knepp on the menu at restaurants and diners. It is often served accompanied by a salad of greens with Hot Bacon Dressing.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • This dish can also be made with ham hocks, or even some slices of smoked ham.
  • Make sure to use TART apple schnitz in this dish. Commercially available schnitz comes in two versions — tart or sweet.
  • Schnitz can often be found in Amish and Pa Dutch area markets in bags, ready to soak.
  • Schnitz can be purchased online, but can be expensive that way.
  • You can make your own! Dried tart apples can be made in a food dehydrator or in your home oven if you have a dehydrating setting..

Schnitz und Knepp

Schnitz und Knepp

Schnitz un Knepp

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried apples
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar (depending on your personal taste)
  • 1 chopped medium onion
  • 3 lbs. end piece smoked ham
    KNEPP:
  • 2 c. sifted flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsp. melted shortening
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2/3 c. milk

Instructions

  1. Place dried apples in a bowl and cover with enough water to cover. Set aside and soak for 3 hours.
  2. Place ham piece in large pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Add enough water to just cover meat and simmer 1-1/2 to 2 hours covered.
  3. When ham is tender, remove from pot, pull ham from the bone, and cut into cubes, return to pot and add the onion and dried apples along with the water in which the apples were soaked.
  4. Add the brown sugar and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes OR until apples are tender.
  5. When apples are tender, make the knepp.
    KNEPP (Buttons = dumplings)
  1. In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
  2. In another bowl, mix egg and milk well, then add to dry ingredients.
  3. Drizzle in the melted shortening and mix just enough to dampen dry ingredients.
  4. With the ham broth in the pot boiling, drop the dumpling batter (knepp) from a table spoon on to the boiling broth.
  5. Cover tightly, reduce heat but keep the broth bubbling lightly and cook 18 to 20 minutes without lifting lid.
  6. Serve hot with broth.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/26/schnitz-un-knepp/

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postheadericon Pa Dutch Hog Maw

Hog Maw = Stuffed Pig’s Stomach. Now, before you run the other way, think about eating sausage stuffed in “natural” casing. You do realize “natural casing” are animal intestines, right? Okay, now for those of you still with me… It is said the Pa Dutch use everything except the “oink” from a hog. When your life calls for frugality, you learn to waste nothing – scrapple is a perfect example. Stuffed pig’s stomach is not confined to Pa Dutch cuisine however; it is found in Chinese, Soul Food, and Latin American cuisine to name just a few. Hog Maw is traditionally stuffed with cubed potatoes, sausage, onions and seasoning. Some cooks also add cabbage to their stuffing.  The mixture is “stuffed” into the cleaned stomach, the ends are sewn shut, and the Hog Maw is baked until it is browned and crispy then sliced for serving (for those who enjoy the taste and texture of the actual stomach) or the stuffing scooped out (for those who like the stuffing, but not the actual stomach). The choice is totally up to the person about to partake!  Hog Maw remains a traditional holiday dish among the Pa Dutch, especially being served on New Year’s Day along with the traditional pork and sauerkraut as a way of ensuring good luck for the coming year. Leftovers can also be served cold as a sandwich. Traditionally served in the winter, Hog Maw was made around the time of hog butchering days on the farms of Lancaster and Berks Counties and elsewhere in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country.  The original recipe was most likely brought to Pennsylvania from Germany where it is called “Saumagen” and served on a bed of sauerkraut., The stuffing is as individual as the person cooking the Hog Maw.  There is great debate as to whether adding cabbage is “correct” or not.  Since you are the one eating it, my philosophy is that you should be the one deciding what your Hog Maw stuffing should contain! This old recipe calls for both loose fresh sausage and cut-up smoked sausage. In the Coal Region and Pa Dutch areas of Pa., it is not hard to locate delicious fresh and smoked sausage made by local butchers and meat packers that put that commercially prepared “famous name” stuff to absolute shame.  Your stuffing is only as good as the ingredients, so find the best and use them! The stomach will stretch as stuffed.

NOTE: In Pennsylvania, the pig’s stomach can usually be purchased at one of the many traditional butchers at local farmers’ markets or local butcher shops. Some will clean/prep the stomach for you. If you do the prep yourself, wash the hog maw inside and out in cold water. Use a knife to scrape away excess fat or trim fat with kitchen shears. Rub and continuously rinse the hog maw until cleaned (some people use coarse salt to help with the rubbing and cleaning). There are Youtube videos to help you through this step.

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Pa Dutch Hog Maw

Pa Dutch Hog Maw

Pa Dutch Hog Maw

Ingredients

  • 1 large pig's stomach, well cleaned (all fat removed)
  • 1 pound fresh loose sausage or link sausage, casing removed and crumbled OR 1 pound sweet Italian if fresh is not available
  • 1 pound smoked sausage cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • about 2 - 2 & 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • OPTIONAL: 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • Salt and pepper to taste (amount varies depending on the seasoning already in your sausage)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix together the crumbled fresh and sliced smoked sausages, cubed potatoes, chopped onions (and shredded cabbage if using), parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Sew the small opened end of the stomach with cooking twine to close.
  4. Stuff sausage mixture into stomach, pressing well with each addition.
  5. Once stuffed, sew closed the remaining open end with cooking twine.
  6. Place stuffed stomach in a shallow roasting pan. Pour a little water into the pan.
  7. Roast uncovered until potatoes (and cabbage if using) are tender and stomach is crispy, about 2 hours or so, basting about every 20 minutes with water or pan juices. If browning too quickly, cover with a tent of aluminum foil.
  8. Remove stomach from roasting pan. Slice stomach into 1 inch thick slices or scoop filling out.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/14/pa-dutch-hog-maw/

 

 

 

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postheadericon Creamed Chipped Beef (SOS)

Creamed chipped beef, affectionately known as Sh*t on a Shingle (I’d spell it out, but this is an all ages welcome page…) is a staple in many areas of Pennsylvania. (In many Mennonite households, it is known as “Dried Beef Gravy”)  It is often found in diners as a regular menu item both in Pa Dutch country, the coal region, and in Philly.. And my Dad LOVED it!  I grew up on it.  Mom used to make it all the time but she used chipped dried beef, freshly sliced from the deli department of the local grocery store. In Schuylkill County, it was easy to find this way. Today, the dried beef is available many places in pouches in the pre-packaged deli meat section of stores. If you can get it freshly chipped in your deli section, I highly suggest using that version! My Dad was a WWII veteran, having served in Italy.  The military apparently loved making and serving SOS — it was no-muss, no-fuss food that fit in with often restrictive circumstances that needed to be overcome to feed a bunch of hungry soldiers or an entire outpost.  Much maligned by many, both during their service and after discharge, my Dad often asked for it as not only breakfast but as any meal of the day. He often joked that he was one of the few guys excited to find that SOS was on the menu for the day. Many versions of this recipe call for  making the white sauce first then adding the beef to it.  My version, which goes back to how my mom made it, calls for lightly frying the chipped beef, then making the white sauce in the pan with the meat. I always felt the dish developed more flavor this way.  And so, in honor of Veterans’ Day 2018 (thank you to ALL who served), the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended WWI, and my Pop – recipient of the Bronze Star in WWII for heroic achievement in action with the medical detachment of the 85th “Custer” Infantry Division on the Fifth Army front in Italy — I present to you Dad’s favorite!  (Oh, how I miss you, Dad.  Every day.)

Creamed Chipped Beef (S.O.S.)

Yield: 6

Creamed Chipped Beef (S.O.S.)

Creamed Chipped Beef (SOS)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound dried chipped beef
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 cups whole milk
  • Black pepper to taste
  • OPTIONAL dash of hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Shred the beef into bite-sized pieces if needed.
  2. In heavy fry pan, melt the butter.
  3. Add the beef and fry a couple minutes until the edges begin to curl and the beef brown slightly.
  4. Sprinkle flour over the beef, stir amd cook a minute or two stirring constantly.
  5. Slowly add the milk while whisking and cook slowly until thickened.
  6. Adjust pepper to taste (salt may not be necessary due to the salt content in the beef).
  7. Serve over toast triangles (or toasted English muffins, biscuits, etc.)
  8. May be reheated by adding a dash of milk to bring back to consistency.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/12/creamed-chipped-beef-sos/

My Dad, Steps of the Vatican, circa 1944

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postheadericon Polpetta (Meatballs)

When I was a child, growing up in the Anthracite Coal Region, “vacation” was a rare event, certainly  not something that was guaranteed to happen annually. The budget was tight and my Dad’s work demanded he put in long hours in the summer. When a vacation opportunity did present itself, we did as many people in the Coal Region did; we went “down the shore” — Jersey shore that is — Wildwood, NJ in particular. I loved the shore.  Wildwood had a lot of amusements and rides for the entire family and my Dad and I had a ritual — we would rent a tandem bike and ride on the boardwalk in the early morning sometimes veering off and exploring the streets of town. To save money when we did go to the shore, we stayed in a big, old Victorian house in which there were several rooms for rent and two efficiency apartments. We stayed in an apartment and made our own meals except for an occasional dinner out. One year, we got particularly lucky. My dad, who was stationed in Italy during WWII and remembered a bit of the Italian language he had picked up, came in and announced he had “made some new friends” in the apartment underneath us — a family of post-war Italian immigrants. Seems Dad and the husband in the family staying there struck up a conversation — in Italian.  Dad admitted he fumbled his way through, but was proficient enough to share some memories, have a few laughs, and it wound up with us being invited to dinner with these lovely folks! I was (am still am…) fussy about tomato and pasta sauces.  But I was even more particular about meatballs.  I detested big, tough, over-worked, over-cooked, weirdly seasoned blobs lying on top of my pasta. So, I figured, “Maybe I’ll like the sauce.” (which I LOVED) and I will just act like I am eating the meatballs.  But somewhere along the way, a little bit of meatball found itself onto my fork and the clouds parted and the angels sang! Sized just right, moist, tender, flavorful… I begged my Mom to ask for the recipe.  It has been in my recipe collection ever since and it is my favorite meatball.  Ever. “Grazie amici miei italiani” (Thank you my Italian friends.) NOTE: Use good quality cheese, not that saw-dust like stuff in a can from the grocery store shelf.

Polpetta (Meatballs)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 2 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup torn day old Italian bread soaked in 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 or 3 medium cloves very finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • OPTIONAL Fresh or dried bread crumbs as needed for rolling.

Instructions

  1. Squeeze excess milk from bread.
  2. Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Be gentle and do not over-mix.
  3. Shape into ping pong or golf balls sized balls and roll lightly in bread crumbs, if desired.
  4. Brown well in frying pan with olive oil and add to your tomato sauce.
  5. Let finish cooking by simmering in sauce.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/05/polpetta-meatballs/

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postheadericon Handmade Pierogi

Ah, the beloved Coal Region favorite — pierogi. Not only do many meals revolve around pierogi, but it is the center of much social interaction, especially in generations gone by.  “Church ladies” gather in church kitchens and turn out pierogi for fundraising sales, block parties, or church festivals by the hundreds of dozen — and we Coal Region folks are quite willing to stand in long lines at those events to get them. (You meet nice people standing in the pierogi concession line.) Pierogi is a a traditional food in many cuisines of Eastern Europe and they found themselves becoming a staple in the Coal Region thanks to the influx of immigrants to the Anthracite region who came to America to work in the mines. What started out as a peasant food has evolved into a true classic. Pierogi are not difficult to make.  I repeat – not difficult!! Therefore, I suggest you pass over the in-the-grocery-store frozen variety and, at least once in your life, MAKE YOUR OWN! This recipe for the dough includes sour cream; some recipes do not, but I believe the addition of sour cream makes a more tender dough and I had an iconic “church lady” assure me that was correct (so, that’s good enough for me). Pierogi are filled with savory or sweet fillings, and I have included the very popular potato and cheese filling and a sauerkraut and potato filling. This recipe  makes a LOT, but if you are making pierogi, it makes sense to make a bunch and freeze some for future use. However, you can scale it down. They freeze wonderfully and last a long time in the freezer.

*** READ BEFORE STARTING THIS RECIPE and KEEP THESE POINTS IN MIND ***

  • You do not NEED fancy equipment to form pierogi.  All you NEED is your hands, a 3-3/4 to 4 inch round item capable of cutting the dough – like a drinking glass, and a rolling pin  Anything more than that — like an electric stand mixer, a metal cutter, or pastry brush to wet the dough edges for sealing is icing on the cake.
  • You do not have to complete all the steps involved at one time or in one day.  You can make the filling(s) a day or so ahead, make the dough the evening before, and put them all together the next day.
  • The water for cooking should be kept at a boil and they will float to the top when finished cooking.
  • When cutting circles of dough, cut as closely together as possible to get as many as you can from the rolled out dough. The scraps can be gently gathered and placed together to roll again and cut.
  • Your pierogi should be nicely filled, with no air bubbles inside, and just enough dough rim around the edge to assure a tight seal when pinched shut.
  • Pierogi can be frozen raw or cooked. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, arrange raw or cooked, cooled pierogi, making sure the ends don’t touch. Place in freezer. Freeze until solid, remove them from the tray and place in freezer bags. If frozen un-cooked, boil to cook when ready to serve.

Handmade Pierogi

Yield: 14 to 15 dozen

Handmade Pierogi

Making Homemade Pierogi

Ingredients

    For the Dough
  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream (full fat)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups water
    Potato Cheddar Filling
  • 5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 lb good quality sharp cheddar cheese, grated (use really good cheese!)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
    Sauerkraut Filling
  • 2-1/2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups sauerkraut
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    Making the Dough
  1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix sour cream, water and eggs until well blended.
  2. Make a well in the center of the flour,/salt mixture and pour in the sour cream/water/eggs mixture. Mix together by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer until it comes together adjusting with additional flour or water 1 tablespoon at a time until a pliable, soft dough is formed.
  3. On a lightly floured surface (or in the stand mixer) knead until the dough is no longer sticky and the surface is smooth.
  4. Remove from bowl, cut into four equal pieces, flatten into a disk and wrap each in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight before rolling out.
    Making the Potato Cheddar Filling
  1. Place peeled, cubed potatoes into a pot and cover them with cold water. Salt the water to taste (potatoes need a generous amount of salt). bring to boil, reduce heat and cook until fork-tender.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan then add the onion and some salt and pepper and cook slowly until the onion is soft but not browned.
  3. Drain cooked potatoes and let sit to dry or return to pot and shake lightly over low heat to evaporate any remaining moisture.
  4. While potatoes are still warm, mash them until smooth. Add the cooked onions and butter, the sour cream, and the grated cheese and mix very well. The potato mixture will be stiff. Make sure to season well with salt and pepper. Cool completely or refrigerate until ready to use.
    Making the Sauerkraut Filling
  1. Peel and cube the potatoes. Boil the potatoes in generously salted water until fork tender. Drain in a colander and allow to dry for a minute or two. Mash with a hand masher until fairly smoothly mashed. Add the sauerkraut, panko crumbs and sour cream. Season with salt & pepper and mix together. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
    Assembling the Pierogi
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Line some baking sheets with parchment to hold the uncooked pierogi.
  2. Take one disk and, flouring surface lightly, roll out the dough to about 1/8th to 1/16th inch thickness. Make sure it is not sticking while you roll it out and move it around as you need to.
  3. Brush off any excess flour and use your cutter to cut circles from the rolled dough. Remove the scrap pieces and store them covered to re-roll the scraps together later.
  4. Brush the edge of each circle with your finger or brush lightly dipped in water.
  5. Place about a spoonful of filling in the center of each round. Fold the dough in half around the filling and pinch the edges closed (you can also crimp the edges with the tines of a fork to help assure sealing). Any filling at the edges will prevent the edges from sealing properly. Press out any air bubbles as you seal them up. Lay the pinched pierogi on the parchment lined trays.
  6. Drop pierogi, in small batches, into the gently boiling water. Once they float, cook another minute, then remove with a slotted spoon. Keep the water boiling while cooking.
  7. At this point, you will likely lose some to poorly sealed seams or breakage.
  8. When all are cooked, either eat or freeze!
  9. A popular way to serve pierogi is topped with sauteed onion in butter. Roughly chop or thinly slice some onion, melt some butter in a frying pan, add salt and pepper to taste and saute the onions until soft and lightly browned. Add the boiled or thawed pierogi, heat through and brown one side of the pierogi lightly if desired.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/11/03/handmade-pierogi/

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postheadericon Liver and Onions with Gravy

Whether you love it, hate it, or won’t even try it, liver and onions is a very Dutchie and Coal Region dish. You will find it offered in many diners and restaurants.  I love it, but I prefer calves liver which I think is more tender than beef liver, I like it thinly sliced, I soak it in milk before cooking to take away that “metallic” bitter taste it can have, and I take care  not to overcook it. I like it smothered with caramelized onions (I sometimes add bacon) and I make a gravy to serve with it. Nestled next to a pile of fluffy mashed potatoes, liver and onions says “home” to me. In Pa Dutch cuisine, use was made of a butchered animal from nose to tail. A small amount of liver provides well over 100% of the recommended daily allowance for many essential nutrients. It is also rich in high-quality protein, low in calories and is a great source of iron. An often heard concern about eating liver is that it contains toxins, however, the liver does not store toxins. Rather, its job is to process toxins and make them safe or turn them into something that can be safely removed from the body. Liver is cheap and readily available from grocery stores and butchers. If you have not tried liver and onions before, or if you were forced to eat it as a kid and it brings back traumatic memories, give this version a try. Remember, rinse it, soak it in milk, brown it nicely on both sides, but do not overcook it.  It is safe to eat liver that retains just a tint of pink on the inside. Test by slicing into a piece and checking for done-ness when cooking.

Liver and Onions with Gravy

Liver and Onions with Gravy

Liver and Onions with Gravy

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sliced calves or beef liver (I prefer it thinly sliced)
  • 1-1/2 cups milk, or as needed
  • 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 2 cups sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • OPTIONAL Gravy (see below)

Instructions

  1. Gently rinse liver slices under cold water, and place in a medium bowl (cut into smaller pieces if desired). Pour in enough milk to cover. Let stand (about an hour) while preparing onions.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Separate onion slices, sprinkle lightly with salt, and saute them in butter until soft and caramelized.
  3. Remove onions from the pan and melt remaining butter in the skillet.
  4. Season the flour with salt and pepper and put it in a shallow dish or on a plate.
  5. Drain milk from liver and coat the slices in the flour mixture. Gently tap off excess flour.
  6. On medium-high heat, cook the floured slices until nice and brown on the bottom. Turn, and cook on the other side until browned. Add onions on top of liver slices, reduce heat and finish cooking to your taste. Cut a slice of lives with a knife to check level of done-ness. BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERCOOK!
    Gravy
  1. Remove the liver and onions to a plate, cover with foil to keep warm.
  2. On medium-low, scrape up the bits and pieces from the bottom of the pan. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan, melt, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons all purpose flour. Whisk the flour and cook for a minute or two.
  3. Slowly add 1 cup beef broth or stock, whisking constantly. Cook until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/28/liver-and-onions-with-gravy/

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postheadericon Kapusta – Polish Cabbage, Potato, and Bacon Bake

Kapusta in Polish means “cabbage”.  Our eastern European roots and Pa Dutch influence in Schuylkill County (Pa.) mean we love our cabbage dishes!  There are kapusta soups, casseroles made with sauerkraut, and casseroles, like this favorite recipe, made with fresh cabbage and — (almost) everybody’s favorite — bacon! This recipe could be made meatless by using butter to fry the cabbage rather than bacon fat.  Potatoes, bacon, cabbage, topped with a layer of cheese and baked until bubbly – what’s not to love?

Kapusta Casserole

Polish Cabbage, Potato, and Bacon Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 pound diced bacon
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1 (2 1/2-pound) cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and parboiled
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, Edam, or Gouda

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a very large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, saute diced bacon until crisp but not burned. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon, and set aside.
  3. If desired, some of the bacon fat can be removed but, traditionally, it is left in. Add the onion and cabbage to the bacon fat, mixing well. Cook until the cabbage has completely collapsed and is al dente, about 20 minutes. Add the well-drained potatoes, salt, pepper, cream, and reserved bacon, and mix completely. Remove from heat.
  4. Place in casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole top and cover tightly with foil or an ovenproof lid.
  5. Bake 35 minutes or until potatoes are almost done. Remove cover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden, and potatoes are tender.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/23/kapusta/

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postheadericon Coal Region Barbecue Burgers

In the Coal Region, we refer to a sandwich made with browned ground burger and a sauce (ketchup, mustard, sugar and vinegar) as “barbecues”  (see Coal Region Barbecue recipe)…many other regions refer to this type of sandwich as a “sloppy Joe”. This recipe is a twist on the flavors and presentation of our beloved Coal Region Barbecue in that it uses hamburger patties simmered in a sauce rather than crumbled browned ground beef. This recipe came to me through a multi-generation collection from my best friend who lived in Ashland, Pa. in the coal region; it was in her mother’s recipe box when she inherited it. You can make this recipe a day or two before serving and simply reheat. It is budget friendly and kid-friendly.

Coal Region Barbecue Burgers

Coal Region Barbecue Burgers

Coal Region Barbecue Hamburger

Ingredients

  • 10.5 oz. condensed tomato soup
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 (4 ounce) or 6 (3 ounce) fresh burger patties
  • 1 Tablespoon butter + 1 T cooking oil

Instructions

  1. Mix tomato soup, relish, onion, brown sugar, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce together in a bowl.
  2. Heat butter/oil in frying pan on medium high heat and add the burger patties. Brown them on both sides. (Don't crowd the pan, you want them to brown, not just steam on the surface.) Drain excess grease from pan when all burgers are cooked.
  3. Add sauce mixture to pan on top of the burgers.
  4. Simmer burgers in the sauce 10 - 15 minutes or until patties are cooked through.
  5. Serve on burger buns with extra sauce if desired.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/10/22/coal-region-barbecue-burgers/

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