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Sumbmitted to MasterChef by dinnerwasdelicious

Mystery Box Ingredients

Ground beef
Iceberg Lettuce
Sour Cream
Blue Cheese
Soy sauce
Russet Potatoes

Seeing the array of ingredients from Plated, we knew that a trio of Pierogi was the perfect dish for this Mystery Box—  not to mention a great excuse to eat our weight in sour cream (not that we’d ever need one). We’re proud to say that we used every single item, except for the rice and peanuts.
Pierogi are a classic Polish dumpling, stuffed with meats, cheeses, and carbs. They’re a perfect, pan seared main dish. Hearty without being heavy, Pierogi adapt easily to fill up your favorite vegetarians.

While your Baba might raise an eyebrow at iceberg lettuce, balsamic, and blue cheese in pierogi— she’ll be stealing this dough recipe at first bite. The acid in the sour cream keeps the wheat’s protein nice and soft, giving you an easy-to-roll dough that doesn’t get tough, no matter how many times you have to re-roll the scraps.

3 cups All Purpose Flour (plus more for dusting)
½ tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 Eggs
1 cup Sour Cream
1 batch Pierogi Filling (below)
You’ll also want: tons of Sour Cream, Chopped Parsley, and Sliced Pickles for Serving
Makes: 25-30 Pierogi

Sift together the Flour, Salt, and Baking Powder. In a large bowl, whisk the Egg and Sour Cream until they become a well-combined, satiny yellow. Add the Flour mixture into the Sour Cream and Eggs all at once. Mix until a shaggy, lumpy dough just hardly forms, and set aside for five minutes to rest. At this point, the dough will look pretty hopeless but giving it a chance to rest lets the moisture balance out.

This down time is a great chance to fill your largest, pot with cold water, season lightly with salt, and start to bring it to a boil.
When your 5 minutes are up, press the dough into two equal balls. Roll them out on a lightly floured surface to ¼ inch sheets.

Using a cookie cutter or just a well-floured drinking glass that’s about 2 ½ inches in diameter, cut the dough into circles, re-rolling the scraps until it’s all used up. Using your rolling pin, slightly press the center of each circle to elongate them slightly from the center.

When it comes to actually filling the pierogi, less is decidedly more. Place a scant tsp of your filling of choice in the center of each piece of dough. Lightly wet the edge of the dough, cleaning away any filling that’s out of line, and fold the dough onto itself, over the filling. Pinch the pierogi closed using your fingers or a fork. Be sure to seal them very, very well, so you don’t crud up your water.

Once all of the pierogi are sealed, drop them in batches into the rapidly boiling water for exactly 5 minutes and 20 seconds. Pull the pierogi out of the water with a slotted spoon and drain well.
They freeze or store great after a quick toss in some neutral-tasting oil (to prevent sticking).

When you’re ready to serve, fry them until golden brown and crispy.

Caramelized Mushroom Filling
2 Yellow Onion (about the size of a tennis ball)
2 tbsp Olive Oil or Butter
2 lb Mushrooms
3 sprigs Thyme
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Roughly chop the Onions and sweat them in butter over medium-low heat until translucent. Roughly chop the Mushrooms and add to the Onions, along with the sprigs of Thyme. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until the mixture takes on a nice, nutty aroma and a deeply caramelized brown. Deglaze the pan with the Balsamic, remove the thyme and transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor. Process them until they form a chunky paste. Season well with Salt and Pepper, and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Beef and Pseudokraut Filling
1 head Iceberg Lettuce
¼ tsp Caraway Seeds
½ tsp Fennel Seeds
½ cup White Vinegar
¼ cup Pickle Juice
½ tsp Kosher Salt
½ Pickle, finely diced
1 lb Ground Beef
2 tbsp Mustard— we used yellow, because it’s what was in our Mystery Box but, if we had our druthers, we’d go for an intensely horesradishy grainy one.
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Bay Leaf
Black Pepper, to taste
1 Egg Yolk

Remove the green pieces of the Iceberg Lettuce and reserve for other preparations. Finely chop the core, any thick or white stems, and add to a bowl. You should yield between 1-2 cups.

To the lettuce, add the Caraway and Fennel seeds, Vinegar, Pickle Juice, Salt, and ½ of a finely diced Pickle. Let this weird concoction sit for at least half an hour, or up to overnight in the fridge. Drain very well— we stuck ours in a Chemex filter and gave it a good squeeze, but you could wring yours out in a clean dish towel— and set aside.

Brown the Beef well in a skillet, breaking it into very small pieces. Add the Mustard, Soy Sauce, Bay Leaf, and the pickled Lettuce. Sautee until any excess moisture evaporates, and the Lettuce is a little soft. Season with Black Pepper. Allow to cool slightly while you prepare your dough.
Because Ground Beef is well, um, ground, it can be a little hard to maneuver. Right before your Pierogi, fold in an Egg Yolk. It won’t add much noticeable flavor or texture, but it will help the Beef stay together.

Potato, Chive, and Blue Cheese Filling
1 lb Russet Potatoes
½ cup Sour Cream
4 tbsp Blue Cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp Chives, chopped
Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

We don’t cook much with microwaves, but they are a Potato Perogi’s best friend. Nuke your Potatoes until tender— 5-8 minutes, depending on their size. Scoop the Potato from its skin, mix with the Sour Cream, and gently fold in the remaining ingredients. The filling should be very, very dry— and, depending on how funky your cheese is, it might be a little bit blue. Season well with Salt and Black Pepper, and pretend like you labored over a hot stove all day.

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