How to: Make your own Short-Cut Pierogi with Potato and Caramelized Onion

I love a good kitchen shortcut.

Especially one that makes traditional pierogi so light and delicate, I can eat twice as many.

Guys. TWICE as many!

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The secret is pre-made wonton wrappers. If you’ve ever made real-deal pierogi, you’d know preparing, rolling and cutting the dough is at least half the battle.

The circular wonton wrappers look a bit more pierogi-like, but i couldn’t find them so triangle pierogi it is. Shockingly, they taste the same. ;p

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This recipe is lightly adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks – Bonnie Stern’s Friday Night Dinners. If I haven’t mentioned I love Bonnie Stern before, I will now. I love her. There.  She writes a terrific column in the National Post and I just love her food vibe. She uses fresh, often seasonal, high quality ingredients and simple cooking techniques to make her recipes just shine. Bright like a diamond.

These pierogi are a perfect example.  The humble potato and onion are transformed into perfect little pockets of savoury, sweet and smokey.

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The photo above is meant to show you my tear-free onion chopping technique! Set your chopping board up next the stove, turn on the exhaust fan, turn on a burner (no need to be cooking anything) and chop those babies to your heart’s content.  The heat and exhaust fan will draw away all of the offending fumes and your eyes will remain clear and bright throughout dinner prep! Booya.

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Speaking of onions. Caramelizing them is just the bee’s knees isn’t it? Sometimes I’ll take a bag of onions and caramelize them on the weekend with nothing in particular planned for them.  I’ll use them throughout the week in sandwiches, salads, pastas, on pizza or whatever calls for a little extra some’n some’n. They make these pierogi.

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Yukon gold potatoes have a beautiful, smooth buttery texture.  I used a large whisk to ‘mash’ them.

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Once you have a nice little work station prepped, you’ll be done in no time.

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Type-A much?

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Enjoy these.  They’re a damn delight.

Erin

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Short-cut Pierogi

Ingredients

  • 1 ½lb yukon gold potatoes (peeled and cut into chunks)
  • 6 Small onions (peeled and sliced)
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 Large egg
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Approximately 50wonton wrappers (400g package)

Directions

1. In a medium saucepan, cover potatoes in cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook for 30 minutes until very tender.
2. Meanwhile, in a deep skillet, heat canola oil over medium high heat. Add onions and ½ tsp salt. Stir occasionally as onions start to brown, scraping any brown bits off bottom of skillet as you go. If pan is dry, add 1 Tbsp water at a time. Cook for 20-25 minutes until onions are a deep brown colour.
3. Remove ½ cup browned onions from skillet and chop. Drain potatoes well and mash along with onions, butter, egg, remaining salt and pepper.
4. On a clean, dry surface lay out wonton wrappers (10-12 at a time; cover remaining ones with a slightly damp cloth while you work). Place 1½ tsp of potato filling in the centre of each wrapper. Dab a little water around edge of each wrapper and fold over to make a triangle. Press edges together to seal them. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. At this point, you can freeze them if desired.
Allow them to freeze on baking sheet and transfer to a freezer bag once frozen.
5. To cook pierogi, bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook in 2 batches for 4-5 minutes. In a separate skillet, reheat remaining onions. Transfer boiled, drained pierogi to skillet and toss gently to combine. Serve over your favourite baby greens alongside sour cream or greek yogurt.

How to: Quickie meals – Grilled Cheese

Kraft single + Wonder bread + Imperial margarine +Campbell’s tomato soup = pure 80s magic.

Who’s kidding who? It’s also pure 2012 magic.

Grilled cheese sandwiches and soup were a quick and simple go-to meal in my childhood home. Still are, in fact.  Though they have a bit more of a grown-up flair nowadays.

If you’re looking for something to round out your roasted butternut squash, minestrone or turkey sausage, shrimp and white bean soups, look no further than the humble grilled cheese.

Recently I heard about a group of friends getting together for a make-your-own grilled cheese dinner party.  What a fab idea (and excellent inspiration for this post)!  A ‘gourmet’ grilled cheese night can be perfect solution for a group of friends or a family with varying food preferences.  With prep and cooking time rarely exceeding 15 minutes combined it’s hard to think of a simpler crowd pleaser.

Here are some combo ideas. They’re listed as bread + cheese + extras:

  • Light or marble rye + extra old or applewood smoked cheddar + sliced granny smith apple
  • Italian bread + fresh mozarrella + fresh or roasted tomatoes + fresh basil
  • No-knead bread + swiss + mushrooms sauteed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and thyme
  • Whole wheat + haloumi + arugula pesto + roasted red peppers
  • Sourdough + cambozola (brie-like blue cheese) + caramelized onions + sliced firm pears
  • Any or all of these could also be accompanied by a slice or two of some beautifully smoked cured meat such as prosciutto, or dare I say – bacon!

Another great source for those of you grilled cheese obsessed is a great Toronto-based blog called Closet Cooking.  Here are blogger Kevin’s top 10 grilled cheese sandwiches. And here’s what I made…

2 year old Canadian cheddar, sun dried tomato and fresh basil on sourdough.

Cambozola, caramelized onions and bosc pear on sourdough.  This was INcredible.

Erin

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 5 minutes
Total time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Fresh or day old bread sliced (not too thick so the heat can penetrate the bread and melt the cheese.)
  • 2-3 oz cheese (grated if possible for more even cooking)
  • butter or margarine (usually a couple of tsp, or enough to thoroughly cover the entire surface of the bread)
  • fun ingredients!

Directions

1. Butter one side of each slice of bread
2. Over medium-low heat, place one slice of bread, buttered side down in a pan.
3. Pile cheese and other ingredients on top of first slice and top with the second slice buttered side facing out.
4. Cook 2-4 minutes per side until cheese melts and outside is toasty brown.
5. If the bread browns before the cheese melts, turn down heat to low and cover the pan with a lid.