We spent February and March in Paris. A day before leaving Kraków for Paris, my husband broke his leg, then he had a surgery in Paris and the cast on his leg for 3 months. Having a broken leg seems a bit stupid but actually is handicapping, so not only I was "working" as a driver for my husband, but also I was involved into many more things than usual. Despite the limitations caused by my husband's broken leg and the organization of the move from one country to another, I succeeded to make a couple of interviews with some top Parisian pastry chefs like Sadaharu Aoki, Gérard Mulot. I also visited the Maison Hermé and la Pâtisserie des Rêves and had a chance to have a chat with their press officers, to try the pastries and to take pictures. The article was published in the July edition of the Polish culinary magazine Kuchnia.
So, as you can see, despite this long silence on the blog, I was not completely disconnected from food matters. I am very happy about my article. At the moment, I have no time for cooking and presenting a lot of the recipes, as I started to co-operate with some institutions in food related matters, but first of all I also work in my law firm.
It is the season here, in Krakow, for fava beans. Do you like fava beans? As I love pierogi and since I did not make any in months, I decided to prepare some last week and to stuff them with fresh mint, cooked fava beans and local sheep's cheese.
I served them with beurre noisette. When I was a kid, I spent a lot of our holidays in the mountains, where the mint was growing like crazy. Local people were collecting it and drying it out (in particular, around 15th of August – which is a religious celebration) but I do not remember that they were using it for cooking. From the perspective of years, I think that it was one of the result of the communist regime. The food that I remember from my holiday surely was not local and could be found anywhere. Even in the Podhale region, where small farms survived and where I had never seen a state owned agricultural enterprise (PGR) , the local cuisine was never served to us. Only a couple of years ago I found out that fresh mint was traditionally used in this region to make, for example, a garlic-mint soup with potatoes. Fresh mint may also be used to stuff pierogi, for example buckwheat and tvarog, or lamb.
Pierogi with Fava Beans, Bryndza Cheese, Fresh Mint and Potatoes
300 g pierogi dough (follow the basic pierogi doughrecipe)
500 g fava beans (not peeled)
150 g bryndza (or other sheep's cheese)
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 small potatoes (around 200 g both), peeled
1 handful fresh mint, finely chopped
few mint leaves, for garnishing
around 150 g butter
1. Cook fava beans in salted water. Strain and let them cool down. Then remove their skins off.
2. Cook potatoes in salted water. Once they are cooked, strain and mash them.
3. In the meantime, fry onions over medium heat, until they are gold.
4. In a bowl, mix the cheese well, the mint, potatoes, fava beans and onions. Add generously salt and pepper, taste.
5. To make pierogi, follow the directions in the basic dough recipe
6. When the pierogi are cooked, prepare a beurre noisette, called in English "hazelnut butter" (for its hazelnut colour and nutty flavor). Add around 100 gram of butter, and let it cook over a gentle fire, allowing it to separate into butter fat and milk solids. The milk solids then sinks to the bottom of the pan and start to brown up with the heat, as the cooking process continues, until reaching a color of hazelnut, when the browned butter is finally removed from heat. Add fresh mint leaves, so they can fry gently (over low heat, so they will not become bitter). Serve immediately over your pierogi dish.