Comfort food – Polish Pierogi and Jamie Olivers new cookbook

pierogi with cabbage and potato 1

“Comfort food” – how could I have walked by a cook book having these words on its front (actually it was the German title)?
The new book of Jamie Oliver focuses on food as balm for your soul, food that makes you feel happy and – comfortable! Food that feeds not only your stomach, but your soul as well.

I read the introducing words and was sure that this book was my cup of tea – I flipped through the first pages and … I guess it’s unnecessary to explain, how the book screamed to me “Buy me, buy me! I will make you feel so good!”

pierogi with cabbage and potato 2
Most of the recipes in this book are not everyday meals. They need some time for preparation. It’s not only about enjoying comfort food, but also about celebrating the process of cooking.
And it is about that certain something, those extras that turn a good dish into a decadent one. It’s good to have your go-to pasta dough recipe. But then there are those special occasions … and Jamies luxury version of a pasta dough which uses unbelievable 12 eggs for about 500 g of flour! Bam!


pierogi with cabbage and potato 4
The recipes Jamie tries to drive to perfection range from cheese sandwich and porridge to dishes like the homemade shawarma grill for 12 persons.

In doing so, the book incorporates dishes from all around the world – with an obvious british perspective … which means that it contains – between Vietnamese Bun Cha, Greek Moussaka and Jamaican ginger cake – Jamies versions of British classics with amazing names like “Toad in the hole”.

pierogi with cabbage and potato 7
Perhaps I should mention that the last pages of the book provide nutritional informations for all recipes – something you don’t necessarily want to know…
So far, I’ve only made this pierogi recipe from the book, but more to follow. The black daal that is smoked with spices f. ex. really makes me curious!

pierogi with cabbage and potato 3

pierogi with cabbage and potato 6

Anyway, to begin with, the pierogi – a traditional Polish christmas holiday dish – fully convinced me. Cabbage and me are not exactly best friends, but in this recipe – together with creamy potatoes, wrapped into dough and dipped into sour cream – I nearly fell in love with it…

I made a few minor changes to the ratio of the recipe, though. I also used mild sweetheart cabbage for the filling and added a heartier touch to the pierogi by partly using whole wheat flour.

pierogi with cabbage and potato 5

Potato cabbage pierogi (yields about 50 pierogi, 4-5 persons as main dish, 8-10 persons as starter or snack)
[adapted from Jamie Olivers “Comfort Food”]

dough: 150 g whole wheat flour, 200 g bread flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, 2 eggs, 150 g sour cream, 1 teaspoon salt
filling: 500 g floury potatoes, 250-300 g sweetheart cabbage (or simple white cabbage), 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon caraway,  1 onion, 100 g aged cheese (f.ex. cheddar, gryère)

In a medium bowl mix flours and salt, add eggs, sour cream and knead until you have a dough that you can form into a ball. Wrap into plastic foil and store in the fridge.
Peel potatoes, cut into chunks and cook in slightly salted water for about 15 minutes. Cool out and mash roughly with a fork.
Meanwhile wash and cut cabbage into about 3 cm long slices. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix with vinegar, sugar and salt. Knead cabbage with your hands. Grate cheese. Peel and chop onion.
Heat up a pan and roast caraway for 2-3 minutes. Add olive oil and onions and roast for about 5 minutes. Add cabbage and roast for another 5 minutes. Add mashed potatoes, cheese and remove from heat. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Fillings for pasta should always be slightly too salty.) Let cool out.
Wash chives (and purslane). Chop chives. Mix sour cream, chives, lemon juice and a splash of water in a small bowl. Season with salt and store in the fridge.
When the filling has cooled down, form little balls out of it using about a teaspoon of the cabbage potato mash. I ended up with about 50 balls.
Prepare working surface with flour. Divide dough into two pieces. Roll out the first of them a bit thicker than you would do for italian pasta. Add some more flour if your dough sticks to the surface. Cut out as much circles at about ∅ 9 cm. I used my smallest dumpling/ravioli mould, but you can also use f.ex. a drinking glass to cut out the circles. Place one portion of filling on one half of the dough circle, fold over the other half and press ends together with a fork. Alternatively you can use a mould. (I can really recommend to buy such a set of moulds.) Repeat with second piece of dough, finally with the remaining dough scraps – until your running out of filling. (I had some leftover dough.)
In a large pot bring salted water to boil. Working in small batches, cook pierogi for a few minutes until the come up to the surface. Take them out of the water with a slotted spoon and drain on a kitchen towel.
You can now freeze them or continue processing them.

Potato cabbage pierogi with sour cream (serves 2 persons as main dish)

18-20 cooked pierogi, 2 tablespoons butter
150 g sour cream, 1 bunch of chives, juice of ½ lemon, salt, pepper, (purslane)

Wash chives (and purslane). Chop chives. In a small bowl mix sour cream, chives, lemon juice and a splash of water. Season with salt and a bit of pepper.
In a pan heat butter. Fry  pierogi from both sides until they are crisp and golden brown. Work in batches. Serve warm on sour cream (and purslane).


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