My brother, Chuck Nesbitt, married the lovely Elissa Grabowski. I spent the morning with Elissa and her parents, Fran and Donna. Donna learned how to cook traditional Polish cuisine from Fran’s mother, Josephine, and his Buscha, Catherine. Donna recounted with laughter her early married years and her sometimes not so successful attempts to please her Polish husband. She’s had many years to master her craft. She and the rest of the Grabowskis have embraced my brother, generously bringing him into the fold with family, fun and, of course, food.
My first impression of the traditional pierogi is that the pierogi is pure Polish comfort food. I’m reminded of a really satisfying mac-n-cheese. But this dish definitely did not come from any box. Enjoy!
Dough for Dumplings:
6 cups all purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter, melted, then cooled
2 eggs, beaten
1 (16 oz) carton sour cream
1 tsp salt
In a large bowl, place flour and salt, sifting to spread the salt throughout. Create a well and put beaten egg in the center of the well. Gently add the cooled, melted butter. Start adding flour from the outside of the well into the egg and butter mixture until you have a large flaky round of dough. Add a little water to the dough to make it the right consistency. Cover with a towel and let rest for one hour.
Farmer Cheese filling:
1-1/2 lbs. of Farmer Cheese (a pressed cottage cheese)
2 Tbsp melted butter
3 eggs beaten
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
To assemble filled dumplings:
Roll out dough on floured surface as thin as possible. Use 3 inch diameter cookie cutter or large glass to create circles. Place 1 Tbsp filling in center then fold and tightly press the edges. Seal well to prevent leaking during boiling. Edges can be moistened with water.
To cook filled dumplings:
Drop filled dumplings into boiling, salted water. Only do a few at a time, so they don’t stick together. Pierogis will rise in water and after they have risen, boil for an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, then rub with butter. Serve with sour cream.