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Posts Tagged ‘onion’

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 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 Lithuanian Kugelis (Bulviu Plokstainis)

Lithuanian Kugelis

If you asked 1,000 Lithuanian families for their Kugelis recipe, you more than likely would receive 1,000 different versions – varying sometimes by only one ingredient or amount of ingredient.  Kugelis is widely served in Lithuania in both restaurants and home kitchens. It translates to: “flat potato dish” or “potato pancake”. It is a comfort food and akin to how we, in the US, view Mac and cheese as a comfort food – we all have a family recipe and all like our own the best. Consisting of very finely grated potatoes, milk, onion, eggs, bacon and fat, Lithuanian Kugelis should not be confused with the Jewish Kugel which is a noodle dish. Because the technique for making this dish, although not rocket science, does need careful attention and the steps are important to follow — including the speed needed to grate and prep the potatoes and keeping them from graying — I have linked to a prize winning recipe that includes detailed directions for creating this delicious dish. It is more expedient than trying to explain the steps here and, since it is a prize winning recipe, I believe it is a good place to start if you are new to this dish.

Go to the Recipe: >> Prize-Winning Lithuanian Kugelis Recipe

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postheadericon Colcannon

The Coal Region is home to many with deep Irish roots. The discovery of Anthracite and the plentiful work for miners led many Irish laborers, escaping oppression and the infamous potato famine, to the Coal Region. Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish consisting of cabbage (or kale) and onion (or leeks) fried until tender then folded into creamy mashed potatoes. Bacon may be added if desired. Every family has “their” recipe and each will be a little bit different than the others. Colcannon makes a terrific side dish with ham or corned beef, but it can be a meal in itself. Simple, down-to-earth comfort food that’s easy on the budget and sure to please your taste buds. HINT: Form refrigerated leftovers into patties and fry in a pan in some melted butter until browned on both sides.

Colcannon

Colcannon

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1/2 small head cabbage, chopped (or substitute with kale)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender.
  2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, reserving drippings, crumble and set aside. In the reserved drippings, saute the cabbage and onion until soft and translucent.
  3. Drain the cooked potatoes, mash with milk and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the bacon, cabbage, and onions, then transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the melted butter. Serve immediately.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/20/colcannon/

 

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postheadericon Pa Dutch Ham and String Beans

Here is an old stand-by in the Coal Region and Pa Dutch kitchens and is a great one-pot meal.  Use fresh or frozen green (strong) beans, but I prefer fresh whenever possible even though there is a tad more work involved in cleaning the beans. In all my years (okay…decades…) making this, I have used ham hocks, frozen left-over ham ends from holiday dinners, ham ends bought at the grocery store just for this dish when I get the urge, or even a center cut slice of ham although my preference is hocks or the bone-in end for the best flavor in the broth.  If your broth winds up a little “wimpy”, add some ham broth seasoning like Better Than Bouillon brand to taste.  I use plain white potatoes for this although you could use red, yukon gold or even russets. My family always ate it with a splash of cider vinegar in the bowl when served but white vinegar or even red wine vinegar works — if adding vinegar is to your liking.  You can even add a small splash of vinegar to the pot when cooking the beans. I prefer to make this one evening and reheat and serve the next day as I believe the flavors really develop that way, but you can make it and eat it immediately (it can be hard to wait after smelling the yummy fragrance in your home as it cooks!) And no crunchy, squeaky green beans here… the beans should be very soft in this dish. The recipe is VERY forgiving…add more or less potatoes, more or less ham, add some bacon, use more or less green beans… you get the idea. Almost every time I cook this, I wind up accompanying it with a “wilted lettuce” salad using Hot Bacon Dressing and shredded iceberg lettuce

PA Dutch Ham and Green Beans

Pa Dutch Ham and String Beans

Ingredients

  • 2 ham hocks OR a 3 to 4 pound ham end (bone in preferred)
  • Cold water (to cover in pot)
  • 3 to 4 pounds cleaned (ends removed) fresh green beans OR frozen green beans
  • 1 large onion, large dice
  • 2 - 2 1/2 pounds peeled potatoes, cut into chunks (see photo for approximate size reference)
  • Optional if needed - ham flavor bouillon to taste
  • Optional when cooking - small splash cider, white, or red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste (add salt after tasting the final broth!)

Instructions

  1. Place ham in a large pot with lid, cover with water, and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook 1-1/2 to 2 hours to get nicely tender ham and a rich broth. Ham hocks may take longer to cook to fall-apart tender, but that is the stage you want them at.
  2. Remove ham from pot, set aside, and allow to cool enough to handle. When cool, pull ham from bone and cut into chunks or pull into shreds.
  3. Taste broth. You want a nice rich broth, if necessary, add some ham bouillon to enrich to your taste.
  4. Place chunks of ham, diced onion, green beans, and potatoes into pot with broth and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook slowly until beans and potatoes are very tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  5. Serve in bowls with plenty of broth and, if desired, vinegar on the side to add to taste.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/13/pa-dutch-ham-and-string-beans/

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postheadericon Easy Pierogi Casserole

Marry the tastes of traditional pierogies — potatoes, sauteed onions, and butter — into an easy to make, serve, and enjoy casserole.  A great way to use left over mashed potatoes or grab a couple ready-to-eat containers of mashed from the grocery store!

pierogie-lasagna

Pierogi Casserole

Easy Pierogi Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 box lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1 onion, diced fine
  • 2 (24 oz) packages grocery store potatoes OR 5-6 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 stick of butter, sliced in 16 slices
  • 18 slices American Cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a skillet, saute diced onions until translucent, set aside.
  3. Empty mashed potatoes into a large mixing bowl and stir/fluff with a fork.
  4. In a greased 9 x 13 baking dish, layer lasagna noodles, scoops of 1/3 of the mashed potatoes, 1/3 of the sauteed onions, 5 slices of butter, and 6 slices of American Cheese. Repeat layers twice more (3 layers total).
  5. Cover loosely with foil, and bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.
http://www.acoalcrackerinthekitchen.com/2018/09/08/easy-pierogi-casserole/

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postheadericon Amish Onion Patties

Amish Onion Patties – reminiscent of onion rings in an easy-to-make and enjoy form! Dip in ketchup (a Dutchie favorite), salsa, ranch, etc. or just eat as it. These reheat nicely and last in the fridge for several days (Maybe. They are so tasty leftovers are not guaranteed…)

Amish Onion Patties

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons cornmeal
2 1/2 cups finely chopped sweet onions
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cooking oil for frying (canola, vegetable, etc.)

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, black pepper and cornmeal in a large bowl. Mix in chopped onions. Pour in milk and mix well with spoon. Heat oil in skillet. Drop by spoonfuls into hot oil. (or use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop out batter or ice cream scoop) Cook on one side until brown and flip to cook on other side. Add more oil to skillet if needed as cooking. Do not cook too quickly (on too high a heat setting), the onions should soften slightly while cooking.

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