It's beginning to look a lot like pierogi.
Since I made the mistake of promising them to my family for Christmas Day dinner, much weeping and gnashing of teeth will follow if I don't get them done. My inlaws know nothing of the afghan, so if I don't finish it (and it won't be completely done by Xmas Eve anyway), no big deal. But, pierogi? Major deal.
Dad likes saurkraut, as sour as I can make them. They are the biggest pain (because the filling is so juicy and acidic), so I did them first. Actually, I start with the potato filling first, because I need cold potato water to make the dough. Then comes the Shredding of Cabbage. What did our grandmothers do before food processors? Lots of shredded knuckles, I'll bet.
The basics: shredded cabbage and boiled potatoes (save that water!!)
I do use bagged saurkraut, but the woman who taught me how to make pierogi (more on her later) insists on having some fresh cabbage cooked up with it.
I do the fillings (except cheese, because it involves raw egg) the day before I actually assemble the pierogi, so this is a weekend-long project.
Cold potato water, a must for elastic dough (far right, in front of flour)
Actually, it's going to be more than a weekend, because I only finished saurkraut yesterday. Had to drag the kidoodle to my inlaws yesterday morning so my "free time" was down to 4 hours. I need 8 to get all the different fillings in.
I broke down on the way home from my inlaws and got myself a festive mocha to charge me up for the afternoon. It's there on the far left of the above picture. I'll have to remember that trick; I went without one single "mistake" (pierogi falling apart in the water, which of course must then be eaten immediately).
Five dozen saurkraut pierogi yesterday. And you only get some if you come to my house Christmas Day. Sorry.
High-tech cutting (not) & pasting
You can see why I can't have a toddler in the house. Kitchen counter AND kitchen table all put to work. Tess will eat half the dough, anyway. Still, I have to figure out a way to finish the potato and the cheese pierogi while she's around (see "weeping and gnashing," above).
My cutter? A wide-mouth juice glass. I had a well-meaning co-worker once give me a fancy plastic pierogi cutter set (in hopes of getting some pierogi, no doubt) but I was back to the juice glass as soon as I noticed the cutters were just too small.
All oiled up
Once they are par-boiled (3 minutes, 6 to a pot, I had two pots of boiling water going so I was able to get a dozen going at a time, hooray!), I drain & cool them on a broiler rack, then rub a little oil on them before putting them in baggies. Then straight to the freezer so there is no temptation.
I learned to make these about 15 years ago. There was a woman at my mother's real estate office known as the Polish Princess. She was in her 60s and had 11 (!) kids. When my mom first took over management of the office, Theresa's husband had just passed away. At the funeral home, I got to talking to her and when she found out I was Polish but didn't know how to make pierogi, she took me under her wing.
I was adopted, and while I had a half-Hungarian mother to show me how to make stuffed cabbage, I was without a country when it came to pierogi. So a big shout-out to Theresa, who probably just needed me to help out that year, making pierogi for her 11 kids. I only have 8 people to feed on Christmas Day, so I learned from the right person.