The chanterelles have been sneaky this year in southern-central Minnesota thanks to severe drought conditions. Tried and true spots I typically hit early in July were bare until just a couple weeks ago after a stint of some much-needed rain. Naturally, I was stoked when I was able to piece a few pounds together. So what to do next? Pierogi.
Pierogi are Polish dumplings and I can't think of a better way to stretch this beautiful mushroom than in pierogi filling. If you want these dumplings to really scream chanterelle, you can double the amount used in this recipe to a full pound. Traditional fillings consist of potato, cheese, sauerkraut, minced meat, onion, mushroom, or any combination thereof. The recipe I've created here combines all of my favorites into one package. But there's no reason you can't fill these pierogi with any number of ingredients, classic or obscure, so experiment and have fun.
I prefer my pierogi boiled and finished with some standard garnishes and brown butter, but you can also pan-sear them to golden crispiness after you've boiled them. You can also mix and knead the dough by hand if you don't have a standing mixer. Freeze what you don't plan on eating. Pierogies are like tamales—very labor intensive—so you might as well make a lot of them!
- 8 oz. chanterelle mushrooms
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup sauerkraut, drained and squeezed
- 6 oz. smoked gouda, grated
- 3 tbsp. garlic, minced
- ½ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- Crumbled crispy bacon
- Brown butter
- Chopped chives
- Sour cream spiked with lemon juice
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- Make the dough: Whisk all of the wet ingredients together. Add the flour and salt to a standing mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix the salt into the flour for one minute. On medium-low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the flour. Mix until the dough comes together—about two to three minutes. Remove the dough and gently hand kneed for 30 seconds until it looks smooth. Wrap with plastic wrap and rest the dough on the counter for at least an hour.
- Cook the filling: Add four ounces of butter to a preheated cast iron pan. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat until it begins to caramelize. Add the mushrooms and the remaining four ounces of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms until they start to brown on the edges. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Place in the refrigerator to cool.
- Make the filling: Add the sauerkraut that has been drained and squeezed into the mushroom mixture. Chop everything together on a cutting board until the mushroom pieces are around a ¼ inch thick. Place the chopped mushroom mix back into a mixing bowl. Add the cheese and parsley. Mix thoroughly and check for seasoning. If you want bacon for a topping, now is the time to cook some to crumble over the pierogi when they are finished.
- Roll the dough: Flour the surface that you plan on rolling the dough on. I used my kitchen countertop. Start with half of the dough. Roll the dough to roughly ⅛ inch thickness. Flipping and lightly flouring as needed to keep it from sticking. Use a large ring mold or biscuit cutter to cut out the pierogi dough circles. You could also cut the dough with a butter knife or anything circular. I cut mine pretty big, close to four inches in diameter, so if you'd prefer to go smaller, that's fine. Save the excess dough for a later use, like a soup or stew. Rerolling it is a pain and can change the texture.
- Fill the dough: Add a tablespoon to the center of a dough circle. Brush one-half of the edge with water. Fold over and crimp with your fingers. Now press the edges together on the table. From here, you can either use a fork to finish crimping the edges or pinch ridges into the dough by hand. Repeat with the remaining dough circles and place them onto a lightly floured sheet tray.
- Finishing touches: Before you boil the pierogi, prep the bacon, lemon-spiked sour cream, chives, and brown butter. To make the brown butter add a whole stick to a small saucepan. On medium-low heat, cook the butter until the fat on the bottom of the pan begins to brown. It will smell nutty, and the butter will look light brown. Remove from the heat immediately.
- Boil the pierogi: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add a dozen pierogies to the water and boil for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain any water. Finish with brown butter, chives, crumbled bacon, and a dollop of lemon-spiked sour cream.