Attention pickle lovers – you MUST try Pickle Soup!!
I am 50% Polish and 50% Filipino. Probably haven’t heard of that one before, huh? My unique heritage could explain why I love so many different types of food (or maybe I just like to eat good food?) Every time I visit my family in Wisconsin I have to indulge in the local European cuisine. The same goes with my Filipino family in California… lumpia and pancit all the way. Today, my Polish heritage won out.
The process of pickling has been used to preserve foods for decades. In Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe, pickled baby cucumbers in hot broth was the winter counterpart to the summer offering of cold cucumber soup. Fun fact for the day. So pickle soup might sound weird to us, but it’s a big dish in Eastern Europe.
When I first tried this soup, one spoonful in and BLAMMO!!! I was hooked. This recipe may not have started in my family, but I will pass it on to my friends and family! It’s so stinkin’ good!
Because soup is very easy to make, you have no excuse NOT to make this. My recipe uses a cream base where others use a tomato base. You could also make this soup vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. This is a good base recipe to work off of. I add carrots and celery to the broth when I have them on hand too. It’s a poor man’s soup, so anything goes really! Make it your own, just don’t forget the pickles!
2 large russet potatoes (about a pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon dill
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
Add olive oil and melt butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir the thick mixture constantly for 2 minutes.
Add broth, potatoes and veggies. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Test and add salt and pepper, to taste.
In a small bowl, temper sour cream mixture with a little hot soup and whisk together. Pour the sour cream into the hot soup, whisking until combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Add dill, old bay, pickle liquid and pickles. Adjust seasoning if necessary. The soup can be left chunky or pureed to a velvety consistency. Serve immediately with your favorite crusty bread or croutons.
Pierogies (pierogi, piroghi…) are a Polish person’s idea of soul food. A pierogie is a dumpling stuffed with various fillings. Traditional fillings include potato and cheese, meat, sauerkraut and potato, cottage cheese and chives, and sweet fillings like prune and cherries.
Like most dumplings, these take time to prepare. Because they are bit tedious and I make these on my own, I usually make a big batch so I can freeze most of them and eat them later. If you can, grab some friends to help. A pierogie-making party provide a great opportunity to meet with friends or family, talk about this and that and feast!
They manufacture pierogie presses to make this task easier, especially if you are tackling these by yourself. I don’t mind pinching the dough together with my fingers so I have yet to invest in one.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling your dough
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces, plus extra for sautéing
4 large red potatoes
1 large onion and 1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped, divided
4 to 8-ounces of grated cheddar cheese (to your taste)
Optional ingredients for potato and cheese filling: fresh parsley, bacon bits, chives)
For the Pierogie Dough:
Mix together the flour and salt. Beat the egg, then add it to the flour mixture. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and the softened butter pieces and work until the dough loses most of its stickiness (about 5-7 minutes). You can use a food processor with a dough hook for this, but be careful not to overbeat it.
Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or overnight; the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Each batch of dough makes about 15-20 pierogies, depending on the size.
For the Potato, Cheese and Onion Filling:
Peel and boil potatoes until soft. While the potatoes are boiling, saute the onion in butter until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup sauteed onion in the pan to use later in the sauce. Mash the potatoes with the rest of the onions and cheddar cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Let the mixture cool and form into 1" balls.
Roll the pierogie dough on a floured board or countertop until 1/8" thick. Cut circles of dough (about 2" for small pierogies and 3-3 1/2' for large pierogies) with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Place a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon on each dough round and fold the dough over, forming a semi-circle. Wet the edges with a bit of water and press together with your fingers.
Boil the pierogies a few at a time in a large pot of water. They are done when they float to the top (usually about 8 minutes). Rinse in cool water and let dry.
Add pierogies to the frying pan with butter and reserved onion and fry until lightly crispy. Serve hot with a side of sour cream for dipping.
These can freeze uncooked for up to several months. You do not need to thaw the pierogies before you cook them. Simply pop them in boiling water when you're ready to indulge. They are done when they float to the top.