Sunday, November 8, 2015

Better, Maybe - Polish Stir Fry with Potato Pierogi Potstickers

If Rachael Ray and I ever collaborated on a recipe, this is what it would taste like.  Ha ha, seriously. I've been making an easy version of kielbasa and kraut for well over 30 years, and my guys are likely to scarf up the whole thing in one sitting. I came across a more sophisticated version in one of my Rachael Ray cookbooks, which she calls "Polish Stir-Fry and Pierogi Pot Stickers with Herbs and Sour Cream." Very good also, but not without the need for some gentle tweaking to suit the palates of my two food critics-in-residence.  Rachael uses kale in her dish, and my family is of one mind when it comes to kale: HELL, NO.  So I substituted turnip greens, one of my favorites.  Mustard green would have worked as well. (I suspect that my husband would have preferred I left out the greens altogether, but spoonie don't roll that way.  Greens are good, as long as they are not named Kale.)

I upped the amount of kielbasa, cut it differently to get the rustic manly char I was looking for, adjusted the amounts of onion and sauerkraut, and went with a coarse ground mustard instead of mustard powder or prepared spicy brown. And that sour cream she serves on the side? Stirred it right in with the kielbasa and its cruciferous cousins, as I would do in preparing my own recipe.

I didn't touch her recipe for the pierogi potstickers at all, as the recipe is sheer genius. Okay, I added some extra butter.  But that's all.

Polish Stir Fry:
2 pounds kielbasa, cut into 2 inch pieces, then halved lengthwise
olive oil (garlic infused if you've got it)
2 large red onions, quartered and sliced
1 - 1 pound bag of chopped turnip greens
2 pounds of sauerkraut (in bags from refrigerator case), rinsed and drained
4 tablespoons coarse ground mustard
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
kosher salt
ground black pepper
sugar, optional
1 1/2 pints sour cream

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add half of the kielbasa, cut side down, and cook until browned and a little crusty.

Turn the kielbasa over, brown the other side and using tongs, remove the meat to an aluminum baking dish. Add about two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, and then add the onion. Sauté just until the onion starts to soften, and start adding the turnip greens, a handful at a time, letting them wilt down before adding the next batch. Next, add the drained sauerkraut and stir well over medium heat.

Add the mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar to cut the bitterness of the greens.  Stir the kielbasa into the pan. Cover and heat through for about 10 minutes so that the flavors all come together, hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Stir in the sour cream. Move everything into an ovenproof serving dish (like the aluminum baking pan from the kielbasa), cover with foil, and place in a low oven to keep warm while you prepare the potstickers.

Pierogi Potstickers:
1 stick of butter, softened
about 1 1/2 pounds frozen potato pierogi
1 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh onion chives
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
kosher salt
ground black pepper

Place the softened butter in the bottom of a large skillet. Add the frozen pierogi in a single layer on top of the butter, then pour in about a cup of water. Cover the pan, and on high heat, cook the pierogi for 8 minutes (counting from the time the water boils). Remove the cover and keep cooking until the remaining water has evaporated.

Lower the heat to medium high and cook until the pierogi begin to stick to the pan. Carefully remove the pierogi to a serving dish, sliding a spatula underneath to release from the pan without tearing it open. The bottom of the pierogi should be a lovely golden brown.  Spoon the butter remaining in the pan over the pierogi, sprinkle in the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Serve alongside the Polish Stir Fry, with additional sour cream, rye bread and butter. If you like beer, this would be a good time to drink it. Since I dislike beer, I'll stick to my Crystal Light flavor of the day.

As crappy as I feel - the pain has faded a bit, to be replaced  by the parasthesia (insane itching and pins and needles sensation) - I can't help but feel a bit exhilarated by the recent performance by the Orlando Magic. My Magic, who have won 3 of their last 4 games. Life is good in the City Beautiful. Except I don't live in Orlando anymore, but you know what I mean.

Rob and I are heading to St. Augustine just for the day, to watch a very special program, "Honoring Our Veterans". This will include the presentation of the documentary "K9s for Warriors" created by Rob's cousin Michael Rothfeld. Looking forward to this event.

Finally, six years ago this weekend, Rob and I were in Charlottesville, celebrating a special birthday with our dear friend, Dr. Maurice Lipper, husband of my sister from another mister, Bethe Gochberg Lipper. They are both gone now, but instead of my usual grieving, today I want to celebrate the life of a charming, sweet, astonishingly bright and loving man, husband, father, grandfather and friend.  The perfect life partner for my beloved friend, together in Heaven, thank you for your friendship. You are missed.

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