I like the word pierogi because if you had never seen/heard of a pierogi and someone mentioned them, you’d probably picture something pretty similar to the little filled savory pastry that they are. These ones aren’t super traditional but they’re still familiar. Pierogies generally have cheese, usually cheddar, inside them but I’ve never much enjoyed its presence. I didn’t have any dairy on hand whatsoever actually, so these are accidentally vegan. Instead of using sour cream in the pastry dough, I used re-fried beans (specifically, this recipe minus the chipotle from my post Chipotle Refried Beans & Mexican Rice) and it turned out better than imagined…and I imagined they’d be really damn good.
This is our first year growing potatoes (we went with Adirondack Blues and Yukon Golds and aren’t I glad we did) and they turned out to be my favorite thing we’ve ever grown. They’re really beautiful, lush plants and, once you’re ready to harvest, the treasure hunt starts. It took us probably 20 minutes to harvest our tiny patch of potatoes..just digging and digging until “ooooh I found another one!” Yeah, I get off pretty easily. Some tips for growing potatoes after the jump:
Select a variety you like from a reputable farmer (we get ours from Butter Mountain Farm, a producer at the Milwaukee indoor farmer’s market that takes place during the winter. The farm is located in Richland Center, WI which also happens to be the place I’m going to die at age 85 if my logic pans out. It has to do with Svetlana Stalin, Joseph Stalin’s daughter, and is all very complicated but I’m always happy to talk about it).
Then just set your chosen potatoes in a sunny window for about a week or until they start to sprout.
Bury them about a foot apart, with the sprouts facing upward, in a trench ~6 inches deep after the last chance of frost has passed.
In order to keep them from splitting apart, potatoes need to be ‘hilled’. Hilling is the process of re-burying potatoes throughout the season, or adding more soil to the base of the plants. Once the vines get between 6-10 inches tall, you’ll want to add about 4 more inches of soil to the base of the plant. We did that twice throughout the season.
You’ll know they’re ready to harvest when, a few weeks after flowering, the vines start to look wilted, and get discolored like they’re dying. Stop watering at this point, and then in about 2 weeks, you’re ready to harvest.
Don’t wash all of the dirt off right away as washing them shortens their lifespan. Store in a cold, dark place and wash thoroughly as you’re preparing them to eat. The fridge is a perfect spot if you have room. If stored in temperatures above 40 degrees, your potatoes will only last 3 or 4 months.
You’re going to want to really, really boil them until they’re falling apart (just like the author of this blog is). While they’re boiling, I prep the rest of the ingredients and the pastry dough. This is one of the most forgiving doughs I’ve ever worked with, you can get it to do just about anything you want.
These are filled with things I harvested earlier this morning from the garden. I should post an inclusive set of garden pictures here, last year’s was my favorite post..but I’m too busy annoying everyone on Facebook with them soooo…yeah.
Here you can see my weird trellis made from yarn, haha. The green beans are slowly making their way up, soon we probably won’t be able to see the street from the porch. Now we’ll be able to do real, real naughty stuff on there real, real privately mmhm. Like watch revolutionist movies from the 70’s on the projector. Mmmhm.
I garnished these with cilantro flowers and a simple avocado sauce made from just avocados and apple cider vinegar. I served it on a bed of watercress but, really, pierogies are meant to be eaten while standing up (and not even doing a very good job standing up, at that.) I make like 30 at a time so that I can freeze a bunch so I’m never without a little pocket of potatoes whenever I want.
New Harvest Pierogies
1-2 pounds potatoes of choice (a starchy variety works best)
1 cup refried beans
5 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, diced
3 large garlic cloves (more to taste, uh huh), diced
2 1/4 cups of flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp salt
splash of water
1/2 cup green beans, chopped into 1/2 inch piecees
2 cups greens (I did a mixture of kale and swiss chard), coarsely chopped with stems removed
lots of parsley and sage
2 tbsp paprika (or use a pepper if you have one available)
Cut potatoes into small, even pieces and bring to a boil in a large pot. Reduce to simmer and cook for ~20-30 minutes or until they mash easily. Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix the flour and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the refried beans and 3 tbsp of the olive oil and stir well, until light and whipped. Add the refried beans mixture to the flour and form into a dense ball. If necessary, add a splash of water until it’s all combined. Cover with a towel and let sit 20 minutes for the the flour to hydrate.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic, cook until translucent. Add the green beans, greens, herbs and paprika. Cook until the greens are lightly wilted. Remove from heat.
Once the potatoes are done, mash them well and then mix in the mixture from the skillet. Dust the table with flour and knead the dough until well combined. Separate into two pieces and roll it out very thin. Cut using the rim of a glass. Fill each circle with ~1 tbsp filling and form into little crescent moon shapes.
If serving now: Heat a large skillet over medium heat with a bit of olive oil. Add the pierogies and cook for 2-3 minutes, flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Garnish however you please.
If freezing: lie the pierogies on a baking sheet and put in the freezer until frozen through, then put them in a tight sealing container or ziploc bag. When ready to eat, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pierogies and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain them on a towel, then fry them in a skillet until browned on both sides.