Perogy, pierogi, piroshky, pelmeni, paczki or whatever you choose to call them, they are basically all the same concept. Wrapping a filling with some kind of dough exists all around the world. Between these variations, however, are distinct foods from different countries making it nearly impossible to trace the base origin.
The one I remember from childhood, being of German heritage, was a dumpling filled with a slightly sweetened, dry cottage cheese. I think the dough might have been made from potatoes and flour. We just loved them, of course.
When it comes to Brion and I, we always favor the very basic potato and cheddar cheese filling. This recipe is pure, unadulterated comfort food! As plain as it seems, the flavor is amazing. The contrast of the lightly browned perogies against the creamy sauce and spicy, Asiago/red pepper sausage is exceptional. I find there is no need to add any cream to the sauce when you use 100% pure mozzarella cheese. It gives the casserole exactly what it needs.
Sausage, Pepper & Perogy Casserole
Boil perogies in a pot of boiling, salted water until they float to the top & are cooked. In a saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp of butter with 2 Tbsp olive oil. When perogies are cooked, lift out of water with a slotted ladle & place them in a single layer in the saucepan. Fry until lightly browned on both sides; remove from pan & set aside.
To the same skillet, add sliced raw sausage, stirring constantly until cooked through. Add green peppers, cooking until tender crisp. Remove sausage & peppers from skillet; set aside.
In same skillet, melt 3 Tbsp butter. Whisk in flour & continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes until golden brown. Whisk in chicken stock & whole grain mustard. Continue to simmer mixture, whisking constantly, until sauce is thickened & bubbly. Return perogies, sausage & peppers to skillet; carefully combine to coat everything well in the mustard sauce.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place mixture in a 13 X 9-inch casserole dish; sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese & bake 10-15 minutes. When everything is heated through & cheese is melted remove from oven & serve.
Today, July 25th, is my sister Loretta’s birthday. I am truly grateful for having the privilege of Loretta in my life. More than family, she has always been a friend. Her support, encouragement and selfless love have always been a constant throughout my life. Loretta and her precious little Dachshund ‘Amigo’, have spent a lot of time over the years ‘house sitting’ for Brion and I so we could enjoy some holiday time. Her own ‘personalized’ bedroom at our house is there any time they can come to visit.
Loretta shares our love of seafood, so I’m making a shrimp etouffee for supper. This year, we have the pleasure of Loretta & Amigo being here with us on this date, making the meal extra special.
The word etouffee means ‘smothered or braised’. Classic seafood etouffee consists of butter, flour for a roux, onion, celery, green pepper, garlic & salt. One constant always remains in any etouffee and that is that it served over a plate of hot rice. Etouffee starts with roux, the color tends to be warm brown and most often butter is used rather than oil. The sauce will benefit greatly from using a shrimp stock.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LORETTA!
OUR FAMILY CELEBRATES YOU WITH LOVE ON YOUR SPECIAL DAY
Remove shrimp shells (heads & tails) & devein. Rinse shrimp & lay on paper towels & refrigerate. In a saucepan, pour chicken stock over shrimp shells & bring to a boil. Allow to a simmer & cook for 10-20 minutes; remove from heat. Pour stock through a wire-mesh strainer over a measuring cup. Add a little water if needed to equal 1 1/2 cups.
In a small bowl, whisk together SPICE BLEND mixture
In a heavy skillet, melt butter; sprinkle with flour & stir quickly to combine butter & flour evenly into a thick, smooth roux. Continue cooking, stirring often, as the roux turns from white to golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add spice blend, onion, green pepper, celery & garlic & stir quickly, mixing the vegetables into the roux. Cook until everything is fragrant & softened, 1-2 minutes more.
Slowly add the stock, stirring & scraping to mix it in evenly. When the sauce is bubbling & boiling gently, lower the heat. Cook, stirring now & then, until sauce is thickened & smooth, about 15 minutes.
Scatter in the shrimp & allow them to cook undisturbed until the sides are turning visibly orange to pink, about 1 minutes. Toss well & continue cooking, stirring often, until the shrimp are pink, firm & cooked through & nicely flavored by the sauce. Add green onions & parsley; stir well. Transfer the etouffee to a serving dish. Serve hot over rice.