Kasha and Mushroom Pierogi
The meaty taste of these vegetarian pierogi would lead you to think the filling included some amount of beef, but it’s the combination of kasha (toasted buckwheat groats) and mushrooms that creates such rich flavors. Kasha has a warm nutty essence, but by toasting it once again in your own kitchen you revive it and bring out an even deeper flavor. It’s important to use dried mushrooms in this recipe because they have a more intense flavor than fresh. These dumplings are made using the Half-Moon Fold (see Notes).
There is no quicker or easier fold than the Half-moon fold, which is essentially a dough round folded in half over a mound of filling (or a dough square folded in half into a triangle). It’s a great go-to fold for most filled dumplings if a traditional fold is too involved or time consuming.
1. Center the filling on top of the dough round.
2. Fold the round neatly in half, pushing out any air.
3. Pinch to seal. Dab a little water along the edges, if needed, for a better seal.
Fried bread crumbs: Bread crumbs fried in butter are used frequently as a topping or coating for pierogi and several other European dumplings. They add a satisfying crunch to soft, succulent dumplings.
To fry bread crumbs: For each ½ cup of dried bread crumbs, use 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and stir continuously until they are golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately or cool to room temperature on a paper-towel-lined plate.
Freezing Dumplings: If you need to freeze extra dumplings, or want to make large batches and freeze them for later, there are a few things to consider. Almost all filled and folded dumplings can be frozen before cooking. They should be frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet or tray lined with parchment paper. If there is a second layer, separate the layers with another piece of parchment paper. Do not stack more than two layers of dumplings on one tray. Only after the dumplings have frozen solid should they be placed in bags or boxes, sealed tightly, and stored for up to 3 months. Fresh corn tamales, some wrapped rice dumplings, and steamed buns freeze well after cooking. Again, space them apart on a tray, let them freeze, then store in tightly sealed bags or boxes for up to 3 months.
Serves4 to 8 (makes about 40 dumplings)
Total Timeunder 4 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Courseappetizer, side dish
Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian
Taste and Texturechewy, meaty, nutty, savory
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus some extra for dusting
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup warm water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup coarse kasha
- ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup hot water for 1 hour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted just before serving
- ½ cup fried bread crumbs (see Notes)
- Sour cream
- 2½-inch round cookie cutter
- Large, wide bowl to hold the dumplings cooked in batches
Make the Dough: Place 1¾ cups of the flour in a large bowl and keep the remaining ¼ cup handy. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, 3 tablespoons sour cream, 2 tablespoons melted butter, warm water, and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the egg mixture to the flour and mix until all the liquid has been absorbed. Work the dough with your hands into one manageable ball. If the dough is wet and sticky, work in some of the remaining flour, a little at a time, until it no longer sticks to your fingers.
Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 2 to 3 minutes. The dough will be some-what firm and smooth. Return the dough ball to the bowl, cover, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Make the Filling: Place the kasha in a small skillet over medium heat. Toast the grains, stirring frequently, until they are noticeably darker in color and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately move to a small bowl to cool.
Fish out the soaked mushrooms with your fingers and squeeze the excess liquid back into the bowl. Set the liquid aside and finely chop the mushrooms. Strain and reserve % cup of the soaking liquid. (If you have less than ¾ cup, add just enough water to make ¾ cup.) Pour the soaking liquid into a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the toasted kasha, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, keep covered, and set aside.
Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and stir frequently until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir until the onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Scoop into a food processor, add the kasha, the 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper and pulse until it becomes a coarse mash. Scoop into a bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Assemble the Dumplings: Before assembling the pierogi, review the Half-moon fold (see Notes).
Line a tray with a kitchen towel and sprinkle with a little flour. Have ready the dough and the filling.
Knead the dough once or twice on a floured surface, divide it into 4 equal pieces, and set 3 of them aside under a kitchen towel. Shape the remaining piece into a ball and roll it out until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Sprinkle with flour if it gets sticky.
Using the cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can, usually 8 to 10. Collect the scraps from around the rounds and put aside under a damp kitchen towel for later use.
. Lay flat 1 to 5 dough rounds. Brush each round with a very thin coating of water to make it sticky enough to seal. Center a rounded teaspoon of filling on top of each round, fold each neatly in half, pushing out any air, and pinch to seal. Dab a little water along the edges, if needed, for a better seal. Place the assembled dumplings in a single layer on the prepared tray and keep them covered with a kitchen towel while you work. Once you have assembled the first batch of dumplings, continue with the remaining dough and filling. Combine all the dough scraps, knead them into a ball, roll it out, cut out as many rounds as you can, and fill and fold those too.
. Cover the tray of assembled dumplings and place in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes before cooking. Chilling them helps to set the dough, making the dumplings firm and tooth-some when cooked instead of puffy and soft. Set aside the number of dumplings that you would like to cook and keep the rest frozen for up to 6 months.
. Cook the Dumplings: Fill a large pot halfway with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium for a steady simmer.
. Gently drop up to 20 dumplings, a few at a time, into the simmering water. Stir gently to prevent sticking. Cook until all of them are floating, about 3 minutes, then cook for 2 minutes longer. (If cooking frozen pierogi, add them directly to the simmering water and increase the cooking time by 2 minutes. Do not allow the pierogi to thaw before cooking.)
. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon, place them in the large bowl, and drizzle them with a ladle of the cooking liquid to prevent sticking. Cook the remaining dumplings and place them in the bowl with another ladle of the cooking liquid and keep warm.
. Once all the pierogi have been cooked, drain and place them in a large, shallow serving bowl. Drizzle with the 3 tablespoons melted butter and top with fried bread crumbs. Serve with sour cream.
2009 Wai Hon Chu and Connie Lovatt