Pierogi in Cleveland

Recently I was in Cleveland for a little less than a day. Before I left home, I asked Cleveland native chef Michael Symon where I should go for one of Cleveland’s signature dishes, pierogi. He told me about Sokolowskis University Inn, a 107 year old institution that serves huge pierogi swimming in butter. In the words of the always enthusiastic chef Symon, “It’s awesome!” And it was. Sokolowskis is not a very long walk from the West Side Market, another Cleveland instituion. At Sokolowskis you grab a tray cafeteria style and choose what you want to eat. My picks were the bratwurst and pierogi with onions and sauerkraut and as you can see, no shortage of butter. Pierogi are an Eastern European dumpling, made with a tender dough and filling. Despite sitting in a steam table tray, the pierogi couldn’t have been more delectable. The pasta was still toothsome and the creamy mashed potato and cheese filling was rich and comforting. The fresh bratwurst was a million times better than what you can find in the supermarket. It had warm spices, but also a rough texture, tender, yet with body. The recipe for Sokolowskis pierogi is on their website, but it makes 6 dozen pierogi! I have scaled it down and added a recipe for a filling. Recipe after the jump. Pierogi (adapted from Sokolowskis) Makes 2 dozen pierogi 4 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup cold water 1/4 cup sour cream 1 egg 2 1/4 teaspoons vegetable oil 1 Tablespoon salt I large potato 3 Tablespoons milk 3 Tablespoons butter 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese Combine flour and salt in a bowl or mixer. Whisk together the egg, water and oil then add the sour cream and whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the flour and salt. Mix for about 2-1/2 minutes. Dough should not be too sticky, if it is add a little flour. When dough reaches a silky texture remove it from mixer, place it on a floured surface and cover it. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. Make the filling by cooking the potato, peeling and mashing it in a bowl. Add the milk, butter and cheddar cheese, mix thoroughly and adjust seasonings to taste. Roll dough out to 1/4″ thickness on a floured surface. Take a cookie cutter about 4″ in diameter and cut dough into disks. Re-roll each disk into 1/8″ thickness. Place filling in center of the dough. Lightly wet one edge with water and folder over and firmly crimp together. Place pierogi on floured tray. Gently place pierogi in salted water that is just under boiling point (about 190°). Cook for about 3 minutes or until pierogis float. Brown cooked pierogis in skillet with butter. Serve with butter, sautéed onion or a dollop of sour cream with chives or fresh dill.

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