Friday, October 8, 2010

Mushroom Season Part 3

If you only knew how I have been eating lately, probably a lot of you, readers, would think: is this woman really writing a culinary blog? Or maybe she should rather write an anti-culinary one? No, I do not go to McDonalds (there is none in my neighborhood), but, for example, I had a hot dog with vegetables for lunch (I did not make it on my own, I bought it!), that I swallowed in 2 minutes….and a sandwich for breakfast….and no, I am not on a diet at the moment, but lately time has been flying faster than light, and there are so many new challenges in front on me, that I forgot how I  love to cook and eat. Today, I promised to myself, for example, that I will cook a savory chocolate risotto for dinner. However, I forgot to carefully check the ingredients for the dish, and since I found myself without any red chilies or cocoa powder at home, I will have to postpone this culinary fantasy…
This unusual behavior is due to the fact that I have been working on organizing the “Polish Days in Paris” project, which will take place next year on Place Saint-Sulpice (if everything goes well!).
All my energy is currently applied to preparing an application for a Governmental grant, which must be submitted by the end of October. Although the deadline seems fine, I am very concerned because everything seems to go so slow…
Anyone who already had to deal with this type of official paperwork should know what I am talking about, and how many telephone calls and meetings it requires…

Well, this explains why, today, I will bother you again with another mushroom recipe. Anyway the season will finish soon; the weather becomes worse, nights are really cold, close to ground frosts.

The recipe for the stuffing does not vary much from the classical recipe for Polish Style Dumplings with Potatoes and Cheese – “pierogi ruskie, except for chopped pine mushrooms.

The dough I made was slightly different from usual: instead of using sparkling mineral water, I added some fresh milk, and clarified butter. The dough is quite easy to work, although I believe than anyone who is not used to roll pierogi dough out, may complain.  Do not worry; after three or four failures you should succeed… My first pierogi dough was a disaster. Now, I make it from scratch, even without measuring the amounts of flour and liquid – simply, I have in my mind that the dough should be worked well, should be elastic and shiny….and if it is too sticky, I add a bit more flour; or, if it is too dry – I add a bit more milk. Much depends on the humidity in your kitchen and on the quality of the flour. I will not tell you whether it is easy to roll out, as I used my pasta machine which rolled the dough out evenly and thinly. The dough is very delicate and elastic, but even though do not roll it too thin – it may break during boiling. I encourage you to make Polish style dumplings at least once in your life, and although it is quite a lot of work, they are really worth it.
I probably do not know anyone who would not like those potatoes and cheese dumplings! And with pine mushrooms, they are even more interesting. Prepare the pierogi dough, using the ingredients listed in this recipe, but follow the instructions given in the “Basic Pierogi” recipe.

Polish Style Dumplings (Pierogi) with Potatoes, Curd Cheese and Sautéed Pine Mushrooms

Serves 4-6


For the Pierogi dough:
280 g all purpose flour (plus some more extra)
2 tablespoons clarified butter
100 ml milk (plus some more extra)
1 egg

For the filling:
500 g potatoes
200 g dry curd cheese 
1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
5 tablespoons clarified butter
150 g pine mushrooms (lactarius delicious)
Salt and pepper to taste
Some extra clarified butter and fresh chopped parsley for garnishing

1. In a large saucepan, boil water and cook potatoes, with skin on.
2. In the meantime, delicately clean mushrooms from leftovers of the forest. Scratch the stems to remove soil. Rinse the mushrooms delicately under cold water. Chop them finely.
3. Strain potatoes and let cool down a bit; peel them when still warm and mash them using a potato masher. Let potatoes cool down. Using the potato masher, mash the cheese. Working with hands, carefully mix potatoes and cheese. Put aside.
4. In a hot frying pan, heat clarified butter (how to prepare clarified butter, check this recipe, add onions and fry them over medium heat, mixing often, between 5 to 10 minutes. Do not let onions burn.  Add mushrooms and sauté them for about 5 minutes, until nicely gold or until they release their juices and absorb them back in.
5. Combine onions and mushrooms into the potato / cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper and mix again thoroughly. The taste should be quite seasoned.
6. Prepare and cook pierogi as described in the basic recipe.
7. Serve immediately after cooking with some more clarified butter and fresh chopped parsley.

Pierogi also taste great on the second day, grilled on a frying pan with a bit of butter.

Bon appétit! 
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