Last summer I got to help out my friend Casey Barber (Good.Food.Stories) as she was testing recipes for her cookbook Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food. It's a seriously inventive, fun and at times, retro look at these beloved little pockets of dough. Don't be put off by what looks like a lot of steps. Think of it as an investment; whatever you don't plan to eat, you can freeze for the future. Work once, eat twice. Sounds good, right?
SANTA FE-ROGIES WITH PICO DE GALLO
from Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food, © 2015 by Casey Barber
MAKES APPROXIMATELY 24
IF YOU’RE NOT USING New Mexico’s famed Hatch chiles in this recipe, these pierogies are really just a Southwestern-inspired snack. But I’ve never met a pun I didn’t love, so go ahead and call them Santa Fe-rogies no matter which chiles you use. Go mild or go spicy, it’s your call.
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (4 ounces, 113 grams) sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (full-fat, reduced-fat, or nonfat)
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces, 43 grams) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces, 180 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces, 57 grams) corn flour
2 tablespoons (1 ounce, 28 grams) finely ground cornmeal
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup (6 ounces, 170 grams) canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles, preferably Hatch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
PICO DE GALLO
1/2 pound ripe tomatoes (about 1 large), diced
3 tablespoons (1 ounce, 28 grams) very finely minced red onion (about 1/4 a small onion)
1 small jalapeño or Serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves and stems
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lime, halved (optional)
Whisk 1 egg, sour cream or yogurt, butter, and salt in a bowl. Whisk all-purpose flour, corn flour, and cornmeal in a large bowl. Gently stir wet ingredients into flour. The dough will initially be very dry and shaggy, seeming as if it will never come together, but have no fear: Keep stirring, and it will pull itself into shape.
Once the dough starts to come together, press and smash it against the sides of the bowl with your palms, picking up dough bits and essentially kneading it within the bowl until it forms a ball.
Tip dough and any remaining shaggy flakes out onto a clean work surface or Roul’Pat. Knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover dough with the bowl and let rest 15 minutes.
Whisk remaining egg and water in a small bowl for egg wash.
FOR PIEROGI FILLING:
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft and starting to brown, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in beans, chiles, and salt and cook until the beans are soft enough to mush with a spatula, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in corn and cooked until warmed through. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.
(Filling can be made up to 3 days ahead; cover and refrigerate.)
FOR PICO DE GALLO:
Mix first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Adjust seasoning with more salt and a squeeze of lime juice if desired.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper.
Divide rested dough into 4 equal pieces with a bench scraper or knife. Set aside 3 dough pieces and cover with the mixing bowl. Roll remaining dough as thinly as possible into a rough 8- x 12-inch rectangle.
Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds of dough. If the dough isn’t quartered evenly, you may get 5 rounds from one piece and 7 from another. Resist the temptation to re-roll dough scraps for additional rounds. It seems wasteful, but the dough won’t be as tender the second time around.
Spoon 1 teaspoon filling into the center of dough rounds.
Using your finger, swipe a very scant amount of egg wash—just a light touch—around the dough edge.
Fold into a half-moon shape: Either fold the dough over the filling on the work surface—I call this “the blanket”—or gently cup the pierogi in your hand in a U shape—I call this “the taco.” Gently but firmly seal the pierogi by pinching and squeezing the edges together with your thumb and pointer finger. Start with one pinch at the top, then move to one “corner” of the pierogi and pinch along the edge back to the top. Repeat on the opposite side to finish sealing the pierogi.
Transfer to the baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough rounds and filling. Freeze on the baking sheet, refrigerate up to 3 hours, or cook immediately.
COOKING AND STORING PIEROGIES
TO BOIL FRESH OR FROZEN PIEROGIES
Boil a pot of water over medium-high heat (fill approximately 1 quart water for every 6 pierogies). Add pierogies and cook until floating, 2 to 3 minutes for fresh and 4 to 5 minutes for frozen.
TO PAN-FRY FRESH OR BOILED PIEROGIES
Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil (like canola or vegetable) or melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add as many pierogies as will fit in a single layer without crowding. Cook until pierogies are brown and crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with additional oil or butter and pierogies.
To cook large batches for parties, you can also pan-fry pierogies on an electric or two-burner stovetop griddle.
TO DEEP-FRY FRESH OR FROZEN PIEROGIES
Use an electric deep fryer or a large, high-sided pot filled with at least 2 inches of vegetable or canola oil (fill the pot no more than 1/3 full). Heat oil to 350 degrees. Add pierogies and cook until golden brown; frying time varies based on equipment, about 3 minutes for fresh and 5 minutes for frozen.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Transfer pierogies to the baking sheet and cool for 1 minute.