Another month has gone by and my mission of a recipe per month out of Nigel Slater’s Notes from the Larder continues. For my March project, I chose sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi. You can find Slater’s recipe here as well as the story of how it was inspired by his visit to Warsaw.
Why this recipe? Well, as vegetarian options went, it was basically either this or chocolate banana cake. I wasn’t in a baking mood and besides, that cake sounds too good not to share with my love and he’s way across the ocean right now.
These are a baked version of the traditional boiled pierogi, the Polish cousin of varenyky, pelmeni, empanadas, and, hell, even burek. Every culture seems to have some native form of Hot Pocket in its repertoire.
Crystal gave me quite a hand with this one. Rolling out dough is a messy business. But dinner was a success and today’s leftovers were even better. The dough got really soft and flaky after being reheated.
To accompany the pierogi, I whipped up Slater’s suggested sauce of sour cream, dill, and wine vinegar. As customary as sour cream may be, I would have preferred my trusty Armenian labne. But I think everything’s better with labne, so no surprise there.
In keeping with the Polish theme, I rounded out the meal with smashed potatoes with butter and dill and some roasted beets. Is there a more beautiful mess than beet juice? I still can’t understand how MFK Fisher could so fiercely despise that color.
Much as I love warming winter recipes like these, I’m so ready for spring. It reminds me of a passage from John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, the deservedly bestselling novel I finished reading this morning:
“'Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”
It’s about time for some chocolate, am I right? This season, I solemnly vow to eat outdoors as much as nature will allow.